The annual unemployment rate in the United States jumped to 8.1% in 2020, up from 3.7% in 2019, reversing a decade-long trend of falling jobless rates. The surge was largely attributable to the COVID-19 pandemic and efforts to contain the spread of the virus.
However, as public policy priorities have shifted away from COVID-19 precautions and back towards economic expansion, the U.S. job market has improved substantially. In a historic economic recovery, the unemployment rate fell every month in the majority of states throughout 2021. As a result, the annual jobless rate in 2021 fell to 5.3%.
It is important to note that the declines in unemployment rates across the country are due not only to job growth, but also to Americans leaving the workforce.
In Texas, the annual unemployment rate improved from 7.6% in 2020 to 5.7% in 2021 – one of the smaller improvements among states. An average of 807,410 state residents were unemployed – out of work and seeking a job – last year, down from 1,067,980 the previous year.
Throughout 2021, monthly unemployment in Texas peaked in January, when the jobless rate stood at 6.7%.
All data used in this story is from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
|State||2021 unemployment rate (%)||2020 unemployment rate (%)||Peak monthly unemployment rate in 2021 (%)|