Unemployment Less Than 4 Percent In Half Of US

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Gone are the high-unemployment numbers of the most recent recession -- the U.S. Labor Department confirmed on July 21 that 23 states now have unemployment rates below 4 percent.  

Rates that low suggest that those states are at "full employment," when everyone who wants a job has one and the amount of people being hired matches the amount of those being fired, The Associated Press reports.

According to the Labor Department's report, the unemployment rate rose in 10 states and fell in only two. Jobless rates in the other 38 states held steady.

Unemployment fell to record lows in North Dakota and Tennessee, where the jobless rate was 2.3 percent and 3.6 percent respectively.

Tennessee also had one of the highest declines in unemployment rate in June -- the amount of jobless individuals slid down from 4 percent to 3.6 percent. Michigan also had an 0.4 percent decline, dropping from 4.2 percent to 3.8 percent.

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Despite the 220,000 jobs added in June, the nationwide unemployment rate rose 0.1 percent higher than the rate reported at the end of May.  The nationwide rate now stands at 4.4 percent.

Still, several states reported a high percentage of job increases, with the largest occurring in Nevada, Iowa and Georgia.  Texas had the highest number of individual jobs added at 40,200 positions.

June's labor statistics reflect the larger trend of rising non-farm job employment that has been occurring in 33 states over the past year, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports.

According to The Hill, Texas, California and Florida added the most jobs in last 12 months -- 580,000 jobs were added in the first two states alone.

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Nevada has had the overall highest rate of job growth proportional to population.  In the past year, Nevada's job growth rate jumped by 3.8 percent.  Nearly 1 percent of that growth happened in June alone, The Hill reports.

Wage increases have yet to match job growth.  While a 3.5 percent increase in wages indicates a healthy job market, the U.S. national rate remains at 2.5 percent.  

The jobless rate is so low in North Dakota and Colorado -- states which tie for the lowest unemployment rate at 2.3 percent -- that employers may be forced hike up wages in order to remain competitive over job seekers. Hawaii, Nebraska and New Hampshire face similar situations, as less than 3 percent of eligible workers in those states are unemployed.

Alaska has the highest unemployment rate of all states at 6.8 percent. New Mexico comes in at number two with a 6.4 percent of the state's workforce not having employment. The nation's capital also has relatively higher unemployment rate than the rest of the nation with a total rate of 6.2 percent.

Sources: AP via ABC News, The Hill / Photo credit: PixabayNorthern Ireland Executive/Flickr, Alfred T. Palmer/Wikimedia Commons

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