By: Global Mobility Solutions

May 2, 2019

The Unites States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) regularly publishes a treasure trove of valuable 2019 unemployment statistics. One of the statistics most examined is the national unemployment rate. Government agencies and departments often tout this figure as an indicator of the nation’s economic health, or as an indicator of administration policy effectiveness. However, unemployment data varies dramatically by industry, city, region, and state. This data is usually also adjusted for seasonality factors, and is published as “seasonally adjusted” to reduce the impact of these factors.

February 2019 Unemployment for US States

On March 22, the BLS published the preliminary February 2019 unemployment rates for US states. As noted in the publication, the US States with the lowest 2019 unemployment, tying for first position, are:

  • Iowa
  • New Hampshire
  • North Dakota
  • Vermont

What is it about these four states that is keeping their 2019 unemployment rates so low?

Iowa 2019 Unemployment

While Iowa is centered in the US agricultural heartland, its economy is highly diverse. Ranked as the #1 producer of eggs, corn, and pork, its second largest industry is finance and insurance. It also was ranked as the best state to find a job according to Zippia (a platform dedicated to providing people with information for their career options).

Iowa has two major growing job markets: Ames and Des Moines. Ames is home to Iowa State University. ISU is a leader in agricultural technology and animal health research. Des Moines is the state capital and its largest city. It is also a leader in the insurance industry and hosts a growing technology community.

New Hampshire 2019 Unemployment

For such a small state both in geographic size as well as population, New Hampshire’s economy is defined by a few industries. Smart Manufacturing/High Technology (SMHT) is the largest sector of the state’s economy. Much of this sector uses high-tech equipment for electronic component production. The state’s tourism industry remains robust, as its natural resources are abundant and areas such as the White Mountains draw a significant number of tourists.

Biotech and medical research is another large sector for New Hampshire’s economy, especially around Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center. Dartmouth College in Hanover is a private Ivy League research university that consistently ranks among the world’s greatest academic institutions.

North Dakota 2019 Unemployment

Much of North Dakota’s economic success is tied to expansion of shale oil and natural gas production in the Bakken Formation. A large portion of northwest North Dakota lies above this formation. The Bakken is one of the largest deposits of oil and natural gas in the United States. Due to the Bakken, growth in the energy industry has driven the state’s 2019 unemployment to historically low levels. The University of North Dakota offers the only Petroleum Engineering Degree in the state.

The boom in North Dakota’s energy sector has been surging for several years. The state’s economic output more than doubled from 2002 to 2013. Following a lull during recessionary times, the industry’s pace has continued to rise. While the energy sector takes center stage, North Dakota also has a vibrant agricultural sector. The state’s top five agricultural products are wheat, cattle, soybeans, corn for grain, and sugar beets.

Vermont 2019 Unemployment

The state of Vermont has the smallest economy in the United States, estimated at $34 billion. However it has a very diverse economy, with significant sectors in agriculture, technology, energy, and manufacturing.

Vermont’s agricultural sector produces 47% of the nation’s maple crop and 67% of all milk in New England. The Vermont Higher Education Food Systems Consortium includes the University of Vermont, Vermont Technical College, Sterling College, Green Mountain College, Vermont Law School, Middlebury College, and the New England Culinary Institute. The consortium produces several skilled graduates annually, with programming and certificates in almost two dozen core areas of food systems study.

Vermont leads in clean energy initiatives. The state hosts many companies that are leaders in the green economy, including companies focusing on wind, solar, and hydroelectric systems. As a result, Vermont has more solar energy sector jobs per capita than any other state.

What do These 4 State Economies Share?

While these four states have economies that are different in many respects, they do share some commonalities.

First is the significant involvement of universities, colleges, and institutions of higher education. Several of the following schools are instrumental to their state’e economic success and low 2019 unemployment:


  • University of Iowa
  • Iowa State University
  • University of Northern Iowa
  • Kirkwood Community College
  • Des Moines Area Community College
  • Western Iowa Technical Community College

New Hampshire

  • Dartmouth College
  • Keene State College
  • New England College
  • Plymouth State University
  • University of New Hampshire
  • Southern New Hampshire University

North Dakota

  • Minot State University
  • Bismarck State College
  • Dickinson State University
  • University of North Dakota
  • North Dakota State University
  • North Dakota State College of Science


  • Sterling College
  • Middlebury College
  • Vermont Law School
  • University of Vermont
  • Green Mountain College
  • Vermont Technical College

Second, each of the four states benefit from high technology that leads to low 2019 unemployment. However, this technology is not solely relegated to dot-com companies, apps for phones, or software development. Much of the high technology is in applied sciences, where it is used to advance manufacturing capabilities and production in sectors as diverse as:

  • Agricultural and Animal Production
  • Food Products and Processing
  • Traditional Energy Sources
  • Insurance and Financial Services
  • Renewable, Clean, and Green Energy Sources
  • Biotechnology and Medical Research

Third, these four states have all made significant investments in economic diversification.

  • Iowa is creating success for insurance and financial services. Iowa has no state corporate income tax on out-of-state sales, federal tax deductibility on in-state sales, and a premium tax of just 1 percent.
  • New Hampshire has become a destination for several new industries, including the Advanced Regenerative Manufacturing Institute (ARMI), a manufacturer of human organs on a mass basis. The state has also used significant incentives to lure companies such as BAE Systems, one of the world’s largest defense contractors.
  • North Dakota is investing in value-added agriculture productions, energy sector, autonomous systems, health care initiatives, and advanced computing.
  • Vermont’s Economic Development Authority is actively involved in financing a wide range of initiatives. Several projects also promote diversification on farms to help farmers expand their product offerings.

What Does This Mean for 2019 Unemployment?

Companies in Iowa, New Hampshire, North Dakota, and Vermont may be facing challenges in their talent acquisition programs. Some of these states rank high in several metrics and are desirable places to live and work. Employers should examine the best way to recruit talent in a tight job market. Often, companies facing a skills gap can mitigate this with global relocation. Companies in these and other states facing low 2019 unemployment can overcome challenges in their relocation programs in a number of ways.

What Should Employers do?

Companies looking to expand or hire in one of these four states should review their relocation programs. A qualified Relocation Management Company (RMC) with knowledge and experience can provide a number of helpful resources to counteract the effects of a tight job market and low 2019 unemployment. As a result, companies will maintain a strong competitive advantage for new hires and transferees. Also, a global relocation program that provides the highest level of relocation benefits and services for employees will help companies attract highly skilled and talented candidates.


GMS’ team of global relocation experts has helped thousands of our clients understand how they can use global relocation to find and hire skilled employees. As a result, our team can help your company understand how leverage its relocation program to attract new hires and transferees for its locations in Iowa, New Hampshire, North Dakota, and Vermont.

GMS was the first relocation company to register as a .com. The company also created the first online interactive tools and calculators, and revolutionized the entire relocation industry. GMS continues to set the industry pace as the pioneer in innovation and technology solutions with its proprietary MyRelocation™ technology platform.

Global Mobility Solutions is proud to be named and ranked #1 Overall, and #1 in Quality of Service by HRO Today’s 2019 Baker’s Dozen Customer Satisfaction Survey.

Learn best practices from Global Mobility Solutions, the relocation industry and technology experts who are dedicated to keeping you informed and connected. Contact our experts online to discuss your company’s relocation program and how it can be leveraged to counteract low 2019 unemployment in Iowa, New Hampshire, North Dakota, and Vermont, or give us a call at 800.617.1904 or 480.922.0700 today.

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Customers choose Global Mobility Solutions’ business model because it is rooted in providing our clients and their transferees the freedom of choice. This means our clients are given the choice to work with “the best of the best” service providers in any market around the globe. GMS is able to offer this unique model in the industry because unlike most relocation companies, we are not owned by or affiliated with any one real estate, household goods, or any 3rd party service provider. GMS has been able to build strong relationships with top providers all over the world who act as an extension of GMS. Our worldwide network of partners allow us flexibility while providing our clients with a real-time, on-the ground consultant to assist with the day to day needs of the individual and family moving.

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