The 17 states with the highest unemployment rates

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At the peak of the Great Recession in October 2009, the national unemployment rate sat at 10 percent — the highest the U.S. had seen since June 1983. The past seven years have seen a much-needed steady decline to today’s rate of 5 percent, a welcomed sight for the country’s workforce.

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The dropping unemployment rate has been felt nationwide, but at the state level, the results have been more mixed. While each state has seen its unemployment rate improve since October 2009, not all have enjoyed as steep an improvement as others.

With this in mind, CareerTrends has found the 17 states with the highest unemployment rates. These states all have rates higher than the national average of 5 percent. Data reported is from March 2016 and reflects each state’s seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate, total employed and total unemployed workers, as shown by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This attempts to “remove the influences of predictable seasonal patterns to reveal how employment and unemployment change from month to month.”

Seven states have unemployment rates above 6 percent, including southern states Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi — though none of the three have the highest in the country.

#17. California

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Unemployment rate: 5.35 percent
Total employed: 18.04 million
Total unemployed: 1.02 million

#16. Arizona

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Unemployment rate: 5.36 percent
Total employed: 3.06 million
Total unemployed: 173,172

#15. Rhode Island

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Unemployment rate: 5.41 percent
Total employed: 522,909
Total unemployed: 29,907

#14. North Carolina

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Unemployment rate: 5.48 percent
Total employed: 4.59 million
Total unemployed: 265,918

#13. Georgia

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Unemployment rate: 5.49 percent
Total employed: 4.57 million
Total unemployed: 265,851

#12. Kentucky

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Unemployment rate: 5.63 percent
Total employed: 1.87 million
Total unemployed: 111,560

#11. Connecticut

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Unemployment rate: 5.66 percent
Total employed: 1.79 million
Total unemployed: 107,575

#10. South Carolina

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Unemployment rate: 5.70 percent
Total employed: 2.17 million
Total unemployed: 131,345

#9. Washington

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Unemployment rate: 5.77 percent
Total employed: 3.41 million
Total unemployed: 208,616

#8. Nevada

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Unemployment rate: 5.81 percent
Total employed: 1.35 million
Total unemployed: 83,192

#7. Louisiana

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Unemployment rate: 6.11 percent
Total employed: 2.03 million
Total unemployed: 131,939

#6. Alabama

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Unemployment rate: 6.17 percent
Total employed: 2.04 million
Total unemployed: 134,280

#5. New Mexico

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Unemployment rate: 6.24 percent
Total employed: 861,338
Total unemployed: 57,356

#4. Mississippi

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Unemployment rate: 6.26 percent
Total employed: 1.22 million
Total unemployed: 81,509

#3. Illinois

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Unemployment rate: 6.47 percent
Total employed: 6.22 million
Total unemployed: 429,633

#2. West Virginia

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Unemployment rate: 6.55 percent
Total employed: 734,079
Total unemployed: 51,410

#1. Alaska

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Unemployment rate: 6.60 percent
Total employed: 337,871
Total unemployed: 23,883

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