State Unemployment Rates

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States with the lowest unemployment rates tend to be Republican states.[1] The following is a ranking of states by unemployment rate, current as of December 2014, their Democratic advantage according to Gallup,[2] Representatives/Senators in Congress by party,[3] party breakdown in the state legislature,[4] and how they voted in the 2012 presidential election.[5] Ultimately 14 of the 20 states with lowest unemployment rates had Republican advantages according to Gallup polling.

List of States by Unemployment Rate

Determination of whether a state is Republican or Democrat is based solely on the Gallup data (Democrat Advantage); the state's ratios for Congress, the state legislature, and 2012 presidential election results are merely provided for informational purposes. For example, Colorado, New Hampshire, Iowa, and Virginia all voted for Obama in 2012 but Gallup polling reveals they are primarily Republican, and thus they are labeled Republican here, particularly since their legislative elections reveal them to be Republican. On the other hand Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin have elected more Republicans at both the state and federal levels than Democrats, but are labeled as Democrat states because Gallup polling shows they have Democrat Advantages. States which could be classified as definite swing states include Colorado, New Hampshire, Ohio, and Wisconsin.

RANK STATE RATE PARTY DEM. ADV. CONGRESS STATE LEG. ROMNEY VOTE OBAMA VOTE
1 North Dakota 2.8% Republican -25% 2/3 R 104/143 R 59% 39%
2 Nebraska 2.9% Republican -16% 4/5 R NP 61% 38%
3 South Dakota 3.3% Republican -17% 3/3 R 84/103 R 58% 40%
4 Utah 3.5% Republican -32% 6/6 R 85/104 R 73% 25%
5 Minnesota 3.6% Democrat 6% 7/10 D 101/201 D 45% 53%
6 Idaho 3.7% Republican -24% 4/4 R 84/105 R 65% 33%
7T Hawaii 4.0% Democrat 24% 4/4 D 67/76 D 28% 71%
7T Colorado 4.0% Republican -4% 5/9 R 50/100 R 47% 51%
7T New Hampshire 4.0% Republican -4% 2/4 R 253/424 R 46% 52%
10 Iowa 4.1% Republican -2% 5/6 R 80/149 R 46% 52%
11T Kansas 4.2% Republican -21% 6/6 R 130/165 R 60% 38%
11T Montana 4.2% Republican -13% 1/2 R 88/150 R 55% 42%
11T Vermont 4.2% Democrat 19% 3/3 D 118/180 D 31% 67%
11T Oklahoma 4.2% Republican -13% 7/7 R 112/149 R 67% 33%
11T Wyoming 4.2% Republican -40% 3/3 R 77/90 R 69% 28%
16 Texas 4.6% Republican -4% 27/38 R 118/181 R 57% 41%
17T Ohio 4.8% Democrat 0% 13/18 R 83/132 R 48% 50%
17T Virginia 4.8% Republican -1% 8/13 R 89/140 R 48% 51%
17T Pennsylvania 4.8% Democrat 3% 14/20 R 149/253 R 47% 52%
20 Wisconsin 5.2% Democrat 1% 6/10 R 80/130 R 46% 53%
21T Delaware 5.4% Democrat 17% 3/3 D 37/62 D 40% 59%
21T Missouri 5.4% Republican -3% 7/10 R 142/196 R 54% 44%
23T Maine 5.5% Democrat 6% 2/4 D 98/186 D 41% 56%
23T Maryland 5.5% Democrat 20% 9/10 D 123/188 D 37% 62%
23T Massachusetts 5.5% Democrat 21% 11/11 D 159/200 D 38% 61%
23T North Carolina 5.5% Republican -1% 12/15 R 109/170 R 51% 48%
27 Florida 5.6% Democrat 5% 18/29 R 103/155 R 49% 50%
28T Alabama 5.7% Republican -11% 8/9 R 98/129 R 61% 38%
28T Arkansas 5.7% Republican -4% 6/6 R 87/134 R 61% 37%
28T Kentucky 5.7% Democrat 2% 7/8 R 72/135 61% 38%
31T Indiana 5.8% Republican -4% 8/11 R 111/150 54% 44%
31T New York 5.8% Democrat 25% 20/28 D 137/213 36% 63%
33 West Virginia 6.0% Democrat 1% 4/5 R 82/134 62% 36%
34 New Mexico 6.1% Democrat 11% 4/5 D 58/112 D 43% 53%
35T Illinois 6.2% Democrat 17% 11/20 D 110/177 D 41% 57%
35T New Jersey 6.2% Democrat 16% 8/14 D 72/120 41% 58%
37T Alaska 6.3% Republican -20% 3/3 R 37/60 55% 41%
37T Michigan 6.3% Democrat 9% 9/16 R 90/148 R 45% 54%
37T Washington 6.3% Democrat 7% 8/12 D 75/147 D 42% 56%
40 Connecticut 6.4% Democrat 16% 7/7 D 108/187 D 40% 58%
41 South Carolina 6.5% Republican -10% 8/9 R 103/167 R 55% 44%
42 Tennessee 6.6% Republican -7% 9/11 R 100/132 R 59% 39%
43T Arizona 6.7% Republican -1% 7/11 R 53/90 R 54% 44%
43T Louisiana 6.7% Republican -2% 7/8 R 85/144 58% 41%
43T Oregon 6.7% Democrat 7% 6/7 D 53/90 D 43% 54%
46T Nevada 6.8% Democrat 3% 4/6 R 38/63 R 46% 52%
46T Rhode Island 6.8% Democrat 23% 4/4 D 97/113 D 36% 63%
48 Georgia 6.9% Republican -3% 12/16 R 155/234 R 53% 45%
49 California 7.0% Democrat 18% 41/55 D 78/120 D 38% 59%
50 Mississippi 7.2% Republican -6% 5/6 R 98/174 R 56% 44%

Notes

  • Nebraska's state legislature is Nonpartisan/Unicameral and thus party breakdown cannot be provided, this is indicated by a value of "NP."
  • Since Independents overwhelmingly caucus as Democrats, they were classified as Democrats when counting Congress/State Legislature ratios. The only state really affected by this was Vermont which had 11 Independents at the state level and 1 at the federal level.
  • A "T" at the end of a rank indicates a tie between states for that rank.

Analysis

Gallup polling generally lines up with how states voted for president in 2012. While states have increasingly become more Republican since 2012, the Gallup polling largely represents the ideology which has governed state employment in recent years, and a state's identity is generally clear. There are two states which should arguably be identified as Republican despite Gallup polling indicating they are narrowly Democrat, Kentucky and West Virginia. According to Gallup they narrowly polled Democrat, with 2% and 1% Democrat advantages respectively, yet both have elected more Republicans to both the state and federal legislature, and voted for Romney in 2012.

Sources

  1. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2014, November). Unemployment Rates for States. United States Department of Labor. <http://www.bls.gov/web/laus/laumstrk.htm>
  2. Saad, L. (2014, January 29). Not as Many U.S. States Lean Democratic in 2013. Gallup. <http://www.gallup.com/poll/167030/not-states-lean-democratic-2013.aspx>
  3. Members of Congress: North Dakota. GovTrack.us. <https://www.govtrack.us/congress/members/ND>
  4. Legislative Control 2015. StateScape. <http://www.statescape.com/resources/partysplits/partysplits.aspx>
  5. 2012 Presidential Race. NBC News. <http://elections.nbcnews.com/ns/politics/2012/all/president>