Boston – The New England unemployment rate was little changed at 3.9% in September, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported. Regional Commissioner Deborah A. Brown noted that New England’s jobless rate was essentially unchanged from a year ago when it was 3.8%. The national jobless rate declined from August to 4.2% and was 0.7 percentage point lower than in September 2016.
New England is one of nine geographic divisions nationwide. Jobless rates among the nine divisions ranged from 4.9% in the Pacific to 3.4% in the West North Central in September 2017. Unemployment rates in all divisions except for New England were down significantly over the year. The largest over-the-year declines were in the East South Central (-1.3 percentage points) and the South Atlantic (-0.8 point).
In September, two New England states had jobless rates that were significantly different from that of the nation. Vermont (2.9%) and New Hampshire (2.7%) had significantly lower unemployment rates and were among 15 states in the country to do so. The remaining New England states were among the 22 states that had unemployment rates not appreciably different from that of the nation. Thirteen states and the District of Columbia had unemployment rates measurably higher than the national average.
Over the month, Massachusetts (-0.3 percentage point), Connecticut (-0.2 point), and Vermont (-0.1 point) were the only New England states that had significant over-the-month jobless rate changes. Nationwide, four states had unemployment rate increases, the largest of which were in Michigan (+0.4 percentage point) and Indiana (+0.3 point). The remaining New England states were among the 35 states and the District of Columbia that had unemployment rates that were not measurably different from those of a month earlier, though some had changes that were at least as large numerically as the significant changes.
Over the year, Rhode Island was the only New England state with a statistically significant unemployment rate change. Rhode Island (-1.1 percentage points) was among the 22 states with unemployment rate decreases from September 2016. South Dakota (+0.5 percentage point) had the only significant rate increase. The remaining New England states were among the 27 states and the District of Columbia that had jobless rates not appreciably different from those of a year earlier.