According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the national unemployment rate as of March, 2019, is 3.8% (Department of Labor, Labor Force Statistics, 2019). When reviewing the past ten years, we can see that unemployment peaked in 2010 at 9.9%, and then slowly began to drop. By March of 2015, the unemployment rate was down to 5.4%, 2016 was 5%, and this number has continued to drop to the current rate of 3.8%. Based on this data, the reason for the variation would be the economic recession of 2008, which drove up unemployment numbers, and the slow economic recovery since this time has lowered it. Recently, more job growth in manufacturing has driven the number down even further.
For different states, we can see that Alaska is 6.5%, Hawaii is 2.8%, and Michigan is 4.0% (Department of Labor, Local Area Unemployment Statistics, 2019). The reason for these variations might be due to how each of these states has a different type of economy that is being affected in different ways. Alaska’s economy would mostly be based on oil revenues and fishing. However, much of the recent oil production for the US has been in Texas, and while there are plans to open Alaska for more drilling, this has not yet happened. This would make recovery slower in this state.
Hawaii’s economy is based on tourism, and with a good economy, there are more tourists, which lowers Hawaii’s unemployment. Michigan is seeing some recovery following the disastrous impact on the auto industry caused by the 2008 recession, so these figures are closer to the national average, because there has been more policies directed toward improving the automobile and manufacturing industries. Overall, there is some variation between each of the states, although it would appear most of the continental US has unemployment rates that are close to the national average.