Jobs Data for States, Halfway Through 2015

Nevada and North Dakota, once at the bottom and top of unemployment rates, are now seeing their situations reverse.
by | July 21, 2015

While much of the country experienced high unemployment during the Great Recession, North Dakota’s economy soared. Fueled by an oil boom, the state experienced some of the steepest job gains year after year and, by most accounts, weathered the recession better than any other state.

Meanwhile, recession-era cutbacks and the bursting of the housing bubble hit Nevada particularly hard. The state was home to the nation’s highest unemployment rate for several months, peaking at 13.7 percent in 2010.

Updated jobs data released Tuesday suggests both states' fortunes have now started to reverse.

Nevada’s steady employment growth in recent years has accelerated over the first six months of 2015. While its unemployment rate remains one of the nation’s highest, the state’s job growth rate of 2.1 percent (measured via a separate survey of employers) is tied with Utah for the best of any state.

But in North Dakota, job growth is coming to a halt with the collapse of oil prices. The state is one of the select few to have shed jobs the first half of the year, according to the latest data.

Here's how total employment levels in both states have changed since the start of the recession in December 2007:

Nevada
asd

The western states of Utah, Nevada and South Dakota have recorded the fastest job growth rates over the first half of the year. California’s economy has also expanded by an impressive 208,000 positions so far -- nearly double the tally of any other state.

According to latest data, West Virginia has lost the most jobs over the first six months (-9,900) and its unemployment rate of 7.4 percent is now the nation's highest.

The following table compares the most recent state employment estimates for June to December 2014 job totals:

SOURCE: Governing calculations of BLS seasonally-adjusted nonfarm employment estimates. June estimates are preliminary.