States with a wide variety of political and economic profiles have hit record-low unemployment rates over the last year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Fourteen states have set records for low unemployment over the last year, including eight that set records in March.
What’s the story?
California, Hawaii, Idaho, Kentucky, Maine, Mississippi, Oregon, and Wisconsin reached historically low unemployment rates in March.
Colorado, Alabama, Arkansas, North Dakota, Tennessee, and Texas have all hit record lows in the past 12 months.
California’s March unemployment rate of 4.1 percent is a third of the 12.3 percent rate the state saw during the recession in December 2010.
Hawaii’s 2.1 percent March unemployment rate was the lowest in the nation. Seventeen states had unemployment rates lower than the national rate of 4.1 percent, and only nine states had higher unemployment than the nation as a whole.
"The strong job market does appear to be drawing back some people who have been out of the labor force for a significant time," Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said to the Los Angeles Times earlier this month. "Anecdotal reports indicate that employers are increasingly willing to take on and train workers they would not have considered in the past."
Where is the wage growth?
Low unemployment rates lead economists to look forward to higher wages, but so far, wage growth has still been relatively slower than expected.
In March, the average non-farm employee hourly wage was $26.82. It was $26.11 in March 2017.
Still, a recent survey by the National Association for Business Economics seems to indicate that wage growth is becoming more widespread. From the Detroit News:
The survey’s ratio of employers that are increasing pay relative to those cutting wages registered its best reading since the association began analyzing the data in 1982. The survey indicated that wage growth should likely be strong over the next three months, which would benefit workers and perhaps consumer spending, the economy’s primary fuel.
(H/T: The Hill)