States Start 2015 With Strong Job Growth

Thirty-nine states added jobs in January, while half recorded declines in their unemployment rates. View data for each state.
by | March 17, 2015

The U.S. Department of Labor released its first report Tuesday estimating state employment for 2015, providing hints at where the recovery may be accelerating.

A total of 39 states reported job growth in January, while about half of states recorded declines in their unemployment rates. California added the most jobs for the month (+67,300), followed by Ohio (+25,100) and Michigan (+24,200). In terms of percentage change, Idaho saw its payrolls swell by 1.4 percent -- by far the largest increase of any state.

Meanwhile, three states registered monthly job losses that the Labor Department considered to be statistically significant: Virginia (-10,900), Louisiana (-7,500) and Maine (-3,400).

Following a sluggish recovery period, overall job growth ticked up in recent months. The Labor Department estimates that the economy added 295,000 jobs in February, while the unemployment rate dipped to 5.5 percent.

Here’s a table comparing states' December employment estimates to preliminary totals for January:

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, seasonally adjusted nonfarm payroll employment

Over the past 12 months, all states with the exception of Maine recorded net job growth. In 20 states, total payroll employment expanded by more than 2 percent.

Oil-rich North Dakota continues to lead the nation, with total employment climbing 4.3 percent since January 2014. Utah’s job growth (+4 percent) isn’t too far behind. Nevada, one of the hardest-hit states during the Great Recession, has also recorded among the best growth (+3.6 percent) of any state in recent months.

Darker states shown on this map experienced the strongest job growth, as measured by the percentage change in total employment from January 2014 to January 2015: