The sensitivity of unemployment to economic activity in the Mexican States (from the beginning of 2004 to the first half of 2018) was evaluated on the basis of Okun’s law (1983) as it relates to growth rates. To capture the heterogeneity of the 32 States, the results of individual regressions were compared with fixed effects panel data estimates. The Okun coefficient is significant and possesses the correct sign in 22 States, reflecting a variation between -7.21 and -1.25. The remaining 10 States (with the incorrect sign and an insignificant coefficient) are characterized by poor economic, social and institutional performances. The great recession brought about structural changes in 15 of the 22 States where Okun’s law is valid throughout the period. Moreover, in these 22 States, the Rule of Law Index and the rate of critical employment conditions determine the sensitivity of unemployment growth to output growth.