Early returns: Top ten states for year-over-year job growth

Conservative Intelligence Briefing reports, “Nationwide, job growth just can’t seem to get ahead of growth in the U.S. working-age population.” The share of Americans who work for a living remains stuck near its post-crash low, and that hasn’t changed in 2013:


National employment growth was just 1.7 percent over the last twelve months. Still, some states are doing better than others. The Bureau of Labor Statistics published its preliminary state jobs data for November this week. Thirty-three states enjoyed statistically significant job growth in the year-long period that ended at the beginning of this month.

Here are the biggest job gainers in terms of percentage growth. There isn’t a clear common political thread here, but it is worth noting that all of the top five and seven of the ten have all-Republican governments.

10. Colorado:


Who knows — maybe all that recent election spending helped out? The Centennial State has 46,000 more people employed today than it did twelve months ago — a gain of 2.0 percent, which is 12 percent ahead of the national rate. Among other things, the fracking revolution has helped Colorado exploit its shale resources — the state now ranks sixth for natural gas production and ninth for oil.

Construction jobs in Colorado are up 7 percent and shale gas is although a few financial sector jobs disappeared. The unemployment rate fell from 7.6 to 6.5 percent during those twelve months.

9. Delaware:


Hi, we’re in…Delaware, home to the nation’s most corporate-friendly legal system. Financial and professional services enjoyed the largest gains as Delaware created 8,400 jobs, or 2 percent growth year-over-year. It also has some nice beaches.

8. Indiana:


The Hoosier State’s beaches aren’t quite as nice, but it is the second-newest right-to-work state and the top state for manufacturing as a share of all employment. The Hoosier Tiger now sustains nearly 3 million workers on the job — more than Washington State, which has a larger population and faster population growth.

Unemployment in Indiana fell from 8.4 to 7.3 percent over the last year. Job growth was 61,100, or 2.1 percent, with the trade/transportation/utilities sector leading the way. Neighboring Illinois, with a population twice as large, created fewer jobs over the same period.

Hoosier job growth especially picked up in the fall, with more than 25,000 jobs added between October and November.

7. Utah:


Former Gov. Jon Huntsman pointed out during the 2012 GOP primaries that his state had been tops in job creation, ahead of Texas. The Beehive State isn’t number one this time, but it’s not doing too badly. The manufacturing, financial services, and trade/transportation/utilities sectors all grew as the number of employed grew 28,100, or 2.2 percent. Unemployment also fell by a full point over the last 12 months to 3.4 percent.

6. Oregon:


When the price is $4.99 in Oregon, you’re going to get that penny back in change — there’s no sales tax. It’s also a beautiful place where lots of people want to live – and it has the best ads for Obamacare, by far.

Construction jobs are up nearly 8 percent in the Beaver State since last year. Oregon added 36,800 jobs in the last 12 months for 2.2 percent growth, and its unemployment rate fell from 8.4 to 7.3 percent.

5. Georgia:


Life’s still not a peach in Georgia, with the unemployment rate above the national average, but at least it fell over the last year from 8.7 to 7.7 percent. Construction jobs rose 9.5 percent as overall job growth was 2.3 percent, or 91,400.

4. Idaho:


A hidden Gem — nope, it’s not just a bunch of potatoes.

Idaho’s employment base increased by 2.3 percent as it added 14,500 jobs in twelve months, leaping ahead of New Hampshire in its absolute job total. The state’s unemployment rate also fell from 6.7 to 6.1 percent.

3. Florida:


Rick Scott, the Sunshine State’s unpopular Republican governor, has to be happy to see his state doing well at just the right moment for him. Construction, trade, and professional and business services all made big gains as the state continued its recovery from the depths of the real estate crash. Job growth was 183,000, or 2.5 percent. Unemployment, which exceeded 10 percent after the crash, fell from 8.0 to 6.4 percent over the last 12 months.

2. Texas:


In absolute numerical terms, Texas remains the Granddaddy of job growth, beating even California, with its much larger population. In total, Texas is now home to three-quarters as many jobs as California, despite having just two-thirds the population.

On net, the Lone Star state added 274,200 jobs in twelve months, an increase of 2.5 percent. Among other things, Texas has played a large role in the recovery of U.S. domestic oil production.

1. North Dakota:


For years, there was a serious effort among state legislators to rename this state just “Dakota,” to make it seem a bit less remote. That probably won’t be necessary anymore. North Dakota created jobs this year twice as fast as the national average, with 4.0 percent growth or 17,500 jobs.

The state’s oil boom has led to such massive growth that infrastructure can hardly keep up. Oil and gas exploration has created vast numbers of jobs that pay very well, along with huge demand for supporting industries. Construction jobs are up 8 percent year over year. The cost of living has skyrocketed, as has the cost of real estate.
If you need a job — or if you want to spend a year doing something practical before you go to college — there’s no better place to go. You can call the state whatever you want, but at 2.6 percent, the unemployment rate is almost as low as the temperature this time of year.

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