Upper Midwest boasts some of America’s lowest unemployment rates

In data released for October, Nebraska records the nation’s lowest unemployment rate, at 1.9 percent. Last week, unemployment figures also were released for the state of Minnesota, showing an unemployment rate of 3.5 percent.

At 3.5 percent unemployment, Minnesota is back to the pre-pandemic level of March 2020 and well below the national rate of 4.8 percent.

Minnesota’s labor force participation rate held steady at 67.8 last month, below the 70.2 percent level of March 2020. The state’s unemployment rate may have returned to “normal” in 2021, but with a noticeably smaller workforce.

Compared to the national figure of 4.8 percent, here are the October unemployment rates of nearby states:

Nebraska: 1.9 percent
South Dakota: 2.8
Wisconsin: 3.2
North Dakota: 3.3
Minnesota: 3.5
Iowa: 3.9

At 1.9 percent, Nebraska has the lowest unemployment rate ever recorded for a state, since record-keeping began in 1976. Since the start of the bicentennial year, the lowest rate ever recorded in Minnesota was 2.5 percent in February 1999.

Other than Nebraska and South Dakota, there are five states with October unemployment rates below 3 percent: Idaho, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, Utah, and Vermont. All seven states have Republican governors.