Fri, Oct 21, 2022 2:17 PM
By Brett Davis, The Center Square
Washington was ranked in the bottom 20 states in the nation in WalletHub’s updated “Changes in Unemployment Rate by State” report released Friday. Washington came in at No. 34.
With inflation remaining high and the U.S. gaining 263,000 jobs in September – fewer than in the previous month – the personal finance website ranked all 50 states and the District of Columbia by comparing unemployment rate statistics from September to key dates in 2022, 2021, 2020, and 2019.
“Now, the U.S. unemployment rate sits at 3.5%,” the report states. “We have come a long way from the nearly historic high of 14.7% in April 2020, due to a combination of vaccinations and states removing restrictions. However, inflation and the potential of a recession threaten to push the unemployment rate higher again if Federal Reserve rate increases are not able to stave them off.”
Persistently high inflation is stoking fears of a recession.
September’s annual U.S. inflation rate hit 8.2% year over year, with the high cost of food, gas, and energy on the minds of many Americans.
WalletHub analyst Jill Gonzalez spoke to The Center Square about the Evergreen State’s ranking.
“Washington is among the states with the worst unemployment change,” she said via email. “The state has experienced a less than 3% drop in continued unemployment claims in the past month, which is the second smallest percentage in the country.”
That was a sharp contrast to some other states.
“By comparison,” Gonzalez pointed out, “the drop in continued claims in Connecticut in the past month is almost 44%.”
The state’s unemployment rate also hints at potential economic trouble.
“Right now, Washington's unemployment rate is 3.7%, slightly higher than the 3.5% national average,” Gonzalez said. “Overall, this translates to a slowdown in economic improvement throughout the state.”
Washington fared better on WalletHub’s list than its Pacific Northwest neighbor Oregon, which came in at No. 43.
Idaho, on the other hand, bested both Washington and Oregon, earning the No. 19 spot.
The 10 states with the best change in unemployment:
2. North Dakota
4. New Hampshire
9. South Dakota
The 10 states and state designates with the worst change in unemployment:
49. District of Columbia
42. West Virginia