Hawaii among 10 US states that had less than half population working in May

The labor market in Nevada, home to the gambling and entertainment mecca of Las Vegas, suffered the biggest hit from the coronavirus pandemic.

In May, Nevada led all 50 states with both the lowest employment–population ratio and the largest drop from a year earlier, according to U.S. Labor Department data. Nearly 42% of the state’s working-age population was employed during the month, down sharply from about 61% a year ago.


Nevada was one of 10 states where less than half their populations was working in May amid economic lockdowns of most non-essential businesses. Hawaii, Michigan, Florida, Mississippi, West Virginia, California, Louisiana, New York and New Mexico also had less than half of the population employed.

The virus had its smallest impact on agriculture- and ranching-rich Nebraska, where the share of the population working was little changed in May from a year earlier. Nebraska registered the nation’s highest employment–population ratio at 67.1% in May.


State gross domestic product data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis earlier this month showed the Cornhusker State had the smallest drop in the first quarter with a 1.3% decline. New York and Nevada registered annualized declines of 8.2%.

Along with Nevada, these state experienced a decrease in their employment – population ratio of at least 10 percentage points from May of last year: Hawaii, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Florida and California.

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