A seven-year economic expansion has brought U.S. unemployment to 4.3%, its lowest rate since the 1960s. The change has been felt throughout the nation. When the economy began its current expansion in March 1991, the vast majority of states (39) had unemployment rates of 5.4% or higher, while only two had unemployment rates at or below 3%. By the end of 1998, only eight states had unemployment rates at or above 5.4%, while nine had rates of 3% or lower. This general decline in unemployment rates is not purely a business-cycle phenomenon. Even at the peak of the previous expansion (at that time the longest peacetime expansion on record), 27 states had unemployment rates at or above 5.4%.
Suggested citation: "Unemployment Rates," Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, Economic Trends, no. 99-02, pp. 14, 02.01.1999.