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Study: Unemployment Rate Changes by State

The unemployment rate is projected to increase to 4.1% by the end of Q4 2024.

Unemployment
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WalletHub released updated rankings for its report on Changes in Unemployment Rate by State, along with a Q&A with WalletHub analyst Cassandra Happe. The company compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia based on six metrics that compare unemployment rate statistics from the latest month for which data is available (December 2023) to key dates in 2023, 2022, 2020 and 2019.

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Best Change in Unemployment

  1. Maryland
  2. North Dakota
  3. Vermont
  4. South Dakota
  5. Nebraska
  6. New Hampshire
  7. Hawaii
  8. Wyoming
  9. Mississippi
  10. Kansas

Worst Change in Unemployment

  1. Washington
  2. Delaware
  3. Alaska
  4. New York
  5. Kentucky
  6. Illinois
  7. District of Columbia
  8. California
  9. New Jersey
  10. Nevada

What is the unemployment outlook for 2024?

"The Federal Reserve Board has predicted that the unemployment rate will increase to 4.1% by the end of Q4 2024. Along with that, many companies are planning for hiring freezes and layoffs in the coming year due to the rise in payroll costs and tightening job market," Happe said. "Despite these predictions, our latest economic index survey shows that consumer confidence in employment stability has increased by 7.1% compared to last year. This contrast puts consumers in a difficult situation as they look ahead to the coming year. While the increase in consumer confidence is a positive sign for the economy, overly optimistic expectations could leave Americans feeling disheartened if the Fed's predictions turn out to be true in 2024.”                                             

How is artificial intelligence impacting unemployment?

“AI is impacting unemployment in various ways. On one hand, AI is creating new jobs in fields such as data analysis, machine learning, and programming. On the other hand, AI is also causing job displacement as many tasks that were once performed by humans are now being automated,” Happe said. “Certain jobs in fields like journalism, higher education, graphic and software design are already at risk of AI replacement and could lead to higher unemployment sooner rather than later.”

Which state has experienced the biggest increase in unemployment vs. the previous month?

“Massachusetts has experienced the biggest increase in unemployment because the number of unemployed persons jumped by 11.7% from November 2023 to December 2023, compared to the average increase of 2.4%,” Happe said. “Massachusetts’s overall unemployment rate is 3.2%, compared to the average of 3.7%.”

Which state has experienced the biggest decrease in unemployment vs. the previous month?

“Minnesota has experienced the biggest decrease in unemployment because it has seen a 5% decrease in the number of unemployed persons from November 2023 to December 2023, compared to the average increase of 2.4%,” Happe said. “Minnesota’s overall unemployment rate is 2.9%, compared to the average of 3.7%.”

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