Best Employment Market: Williams County, N.D.

Unemployment rate: 2.1 percent*
Total population: 19,644
U.S. average: 9.4 percent unemployed (December 2010)

As the country struggles with joblessness, North Dakota remains an extraordinary bright spot, having a 3.8 percent unemployment rate in December 2010, the lowest among the 50 states. So it fits that Williams County, in the northwest part of the state, had the lowest unemployment rate among counties nationwide. The rate remained below 3 percent in 2010, based on the most recent data available. The economy of Williams County depends on agriculture, oil, and tourism, according to the county’s website.

(Note: Only December 2010 county-level data were considered, excluding places that may have had lower unemployment rates in previous months but had not yet released December data.)

*Applies only to labor force. Data source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, December 2010 preliminary estimates; population estimate from U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Surveys 2005-09
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