Civilian labor force population: 3,494,700
May 2013 unemployment rate: 6.8 percent
Last week, Washington’s unemployment rate dropped below 7 percent for the first time since 2008. The state has nearly bounced back from the recession, regaining about 79 percent of the 205,000 jobs it lost during that time. The state added 4,100 jobs in April, with the biggest gains in government (3,200 jobs), education and health services (2,500), and leisure and hospitality. Other categories, including manufacturing and “other” services, had small losses.
In May, an estimated 236,900 people in the state were unemployed and actively looking for work.
Hiring and firing aren’t the sole determining factors for an area’s unemployment rate. The percentage can be driven up or down by things like the growth (or decline) of the workforce population as well. This list ranks the states according to their year-over-year growth rate from May 2012 to May 2013.