Jobless rates in 34 states and the District of Columbia in March were below those of a year earlier, but seven states still were experiencing double-digit unemployment, the Labor Department reported Tuesday.
According to the seasonally unadjusted figures, unemployment in March was highest in West Virginia, 13.4%, and lowest in Hawaii, 4.5%. Also below 5% were Massachusetts at 4.7% and Connecticut at 4.8%, according to the department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics. Twelve other states had jobless rates below 6% in March.
For the 12 months through the end of March, 25 states and the District of Columbia reported declines in unemployment that equaled or exceeded the drop in the national unemployment during that time of 0.6 of a percentage point, down to a seasonally unadjusted civilian rate of 7.5%.
The largest decline in unemployment from March, 1984, to March, 1985, occurred in West Virginia, where the rate fell 3.1 percentage points, and in Illinois, where the rate fell 2.5 percentage points to 8.1%. Kentucky’s rate fell 2.2 percentage points to 8.2% and Michigan’s fell 2.1 points to 10.4%.
Among 251 metropolitan areas in March, Raleigh-Durham, N.C., had the lowest unemployment rate at 2.5%, followed by Stamford, Conn., 2.8%. McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, Texas, had the highest, 23.7%.