The U.S. Department of Labor released the last state-level job estimates for 2016 on Tuesday, providing an updated snapshot of their economies.

All but nine states recorded year-over-year gains in total employment. In 26 states and the District of Columbia, the Labor Department considered the increase statistically significant. For the most part, states that performed particularly well last year also did so in 2015. 

Biggest job gains

Oregon’s economy had another strong year, with total employment climbing 3.3 percent -- the largest increase of any state. Growth that had been limited to the Portland region has since expanded to other parts of the state in recent years.

Florida’s labor force similarly expanded at a rate of 3.1 percent, adding an estimated 251,000 jobs over the 12-month period. A recent University of Florida survey found consumer sentiment among residents had reached its second-highest level in more than a decade. A resurgence in tourism and population growth has further boosted the state’s economy.

Not too far behind were two western states -- Nevada and Washington -- which each grew at a rate of 3 percent. Nevada benefited from a construction sector that registered among the strongest gains of any industry in the state. Tourism has also propped up the state’s economy, with the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority reporting total visitor volume up 1.5 percent for the year, along with greater increases in gaming revenues.

California added the most total jobs of any state -- 333,000 -- and grew at a rate of 2 percent.

Biggest job losses

After enjoying sharp gains for several years, employment in oil-producing states continues to shrink. 

The largest job losses over the 12-month period were in Wyoming (-2.8 percent) and North Dakota (-1.8 percent). While both states also recorded declines in 2015, the losses accelerated significantly last year.

Alaska similarly shed jobs last year after experiencing relatively flat employment in 2015. The situation there could worsen if federal and state government cutbacks occur because public employees account for approximately a quarter of the workforce.

Several southern states also registered slight declines, while total employment remained relatively flat in Connecticut and Maine.

The following table shows changes in total employment between December 2015 and last month:

State Total Year-Over-Year Change Private Sector Change December 2015 Total December 2016 Total
South Dakota 1.4% 1.4% 431,200 437,300
Michigan 1.7% 1.9% 4,288,600 4,363,600
Hawaii 2.1% 2.5% 642,000 655,200
West Virginia 0.3% 0.5% 761,500 763,700
Vermont 0.7% 0.3% 313,500 315,800
New Hampshire 1.7% 2.5% 661,100 672,600
Maryland 1.1% 1.0% 2,683,300 2,713,400
Iowa 0.5% 0.5% 1,573,900 1,582,100
Washington 3.0% 3.2% 3,195,300 3,292,700
Massachusetts 2.1% 2.4% 3,515,400 3,590,400
Virginia 1.3% 1.4% 3,902,100 3,951,700
Wisconsin 1.0% 1.2% 2,904,100 2,932,800
Idaho 1.9% 2.2% 687,400 700,700
Pennsylvania 0.5% 0.7% 5,868,100 5,900,100
Oregon 3.3% 3.4% 1,803,700 1,863,100
Delaware 0.5% 0.8% 456,000 458,500
Tennessee 1.6% 1.9% 2,941,200 2,989,500
Rhode Island 0.7% 0.6% 488,500 492,100
New Jersey 0.3% 0.4% 4,072,800 4,086,400
District of Columbia 2.3% 2.2% 768,100 785,600
Arizona 1.3% 1.5% 2,681,600 2,717,000
Connecticut -0.1% -0.1% 1,680,000 1,678,000
Ohio 0.8% 0.8% 5,475,400 5,517,200
Kentucky 0.6% 0.9% 1,908,400 1,919,400
Arkansas 0.4% 0.5% 1,227,000 1,232,200
Minnesota 1.5% 1.7% 2,875,700 2,919,300
Georgia 2.4% 2.5% 4,330,100 4,433,400
Florida 3.1% 3.3% 8,211,500 8,462,900
Nebraska 0.7% 0.8% 1,013,900 1,021,300
Maine 0.0% 0.0% 610,900 610,900
Alabama 1.0% 0.8% 1,957,500 1,976,200
South Carolina 1.7% 1.9% 2,035,200 2,070,100
North Carolina 2.0% 2.2% 4,275,000 4,360,200
New York 1.2% 1.4% 9,298,400 9,413,100
California 2.0% 2.0% 16,274,100 16,606,600
Colorado 1.9% 2.0% 2,578,600 2,627,400
Missouri 2.3% 2.6% 2,783,300 2,847,800
New Mexico 0.3% 0.6% 828,000 830,500
Mississippi -1.0% -1.0% 1,144,700 1,133,600
Indiana 0.8% 0.9% 3,059,700 3,083,700
Illinois 0.5% 0.5% 5,974,200 6,002,600
Utah 2.8% 3.2% 1,398,100 1,437,100
Nevada 3.0% 3.2% 1,267,700 1,306,000
Texas 1.8% 1.7% 11,931,100 12,141,300
Kansas -0.7% -0.8% 1,401,700 1,392,400
Alaska -1.4% -1.5% 339,200 334,600
Louisiana -0.2% -0.1% 1,980,000 1,975,400
Montana 0.9% 1.1% 461,100 465,300
Oklahoma -0.3% -0.4% 1,663,100 1,657,500
North Dakota -1.8% -2.2% 444,700 436,900
Wyoming -2.8% -3.3% 286,600 278,700

NOTE: December 2016 estimates are preliminary.
SOURCE: Governing calculations of BLS data Alternatively, comparing annual averages for each state yields mostly similar results. By this measure, Arizona and Idaho recorded stronger growth last year, while states like Missouri didn’t add as many jobs as their December estimates suggest.

While most state economies continued to grow in 2016, two-thirds of them did so at a slower pace than in 2015. When annual average growth rates are compared with 2014-2015 figures, North Dakota, Oklahoma and Wyoming experienced the largest percentage-point rate reductions. Meanwhile, growth accelerated in Michigan, South Dakota and a few other states.

State 2015-16 Change 2014-15 Change 2014 Average 2015 Average 2016 Average
Alabama 1.0% 1.3% 1,922,600 1,947,300 1,966,850
Alaska -0.4% 0.5% 337,700 339,300 337,800
Arizona 2.4% 2.6% 2,570,400 2,636,400 2,700,958
Arkansas 1.6% 1.8% 1,187,500 1,208,500 1,227,783
California 2.6% 3.0% 15,585,600 16,051,500 16,462,642
Colorado 2.7% 3.1% 2,464,900 2,541,200 2,608,925
Connecticut 0.6% 0.8% 1,661,500 1,674,000 1,684,600
Delaware 2.4% 2.3% 438,500 448,800 459,358
District of Columbia 1.6% 1.7% 753,600 766,400 778,775
Florida 3.2% 3.4% 7,824,900 8,093,400 8,354,150
Georgia 2.7% 2.9% 4,145,200 4,267,300 4,384,250
Hawaii 2.2% 1.5% 627,200 636,900 650,875
Idaho 3.0% 3.0% 654,500 673,900 694,417
Illinois 0.8% 1.4% 5,879,500 5,960,600 6,007,217
Indiana 1.2% 1.8% 2,980,000 3,034,300 3,071,792
Iowa 1.2% 1.0% 1,546,900 1,562,400 1,581,767
Kansas -0.2% 0.6% 1,391,100 1,400,000 1,396,550
Kentucky 1.3% 1.5% 1,857,300 1,884,500 1,908,925
Louisiana -0.7% 0.2% 1,984,500 1,989,400 1,975,950
Maine 0.5% 0.8% 605,200 609,800 612,750
Maryland 1.7% 1.5% 2,620,900 2,659,300 2,705,025
Massachusetts 1.9% 1.7% 3,434,000 3,492,900 3,560,117
Michigan 2.1% 1.5% 4,182,000 4,243,700 4,334,017
Minnesota 1.3% 1.5% 2,814,500 2,856,300 2,893,292
Mississippi 0.7% 1.2% 1,121,000 1,134,200 1,141,575
Missouri 1.2% 1.7% 2,739,200 2,785,000 2,818,350
Montana 0.6% 1.7% 453,100 460,700 463,558
Nebraska 1.1% 1.3% 992,900 1,006,300 1,017,333
Nevada 2.6% 3.3% 1,216,900 1,257,600 1,290,133
New Hampshire 1.8% 1.5% 646,600 656,200 668,083
New Jersey 1.3% 1.4% 3,967,500 4,022,400 4,076,133
New Mexico 0.3% 0.8% 819,100 825,600 827,958
New York 1.3% 1.7% 9,094,200 9,246,500 9,364,758
North Carolina 2.1% 2.4% 4,139,600 4,239,700 4,326,892
North Dakota -2.9% -1.6% 461,200 453,800 440,833
Ohio 1.3% 1.4% 5,344,000 5,421,200 5,492,442
Oklahoma -0.4% 0.7% 1,656,600 1,668,700 1,661,650
Oregon 3.4% 3.3% 1,721,900 1,778,700 1,838,358
Pennsylvania 0.9% 0.8% 5,788,700 5,836,000 5,887,875
Rhode Island 1.2% 1.2% 478,800 484,500 490,167
South Carolina 2.4% 2.7% 1,951,300 2,004,200 2,052,267
South Dakota 1.8% 1.0% 423,700 428,100 435,767
Tennessee 2.5% 2.5% 2,822,200 2,891,900 2,962,817
Texas 1.6% 2.4% 11,559,200 11,838,300 12,032,333
Utah 3.2% 3.8% 1,327,600 1,377,500 1,420,950
Vermont 1.3% 0.9% 309,600 312,500 316,533
Virginia 1.9% 1.8% 3,783,400 3,851,200 3,924,825
Washington 3.1% 2.9% 3,065,300 3,153,900 3,252,042
West Virginia -0.2% -0.7% 769,100 764,000 762,817
Wisconsin 1.4% 1.3% 2,852,300 2,888,900 2,929,100
Wyoming -3.1% -0.9% 293,000 290,400 281,300

SOURCE: Governing calculations of BLS annual average employment estimates