Internet Explorer 11 is not supported

For optimal browsing, we recommend Chrome, Firefox or Safari browsers.

States With Top Job Growth in the First Half of 2016

The latest employment estimates show the biggest gains in the West.

As some industries experience far stronger growth than others, state economies have headed in different directions so far this year.

Employment estimates released by the U.S. Department of Labor on Friday provide an updated snapshot of each state’s economy. We've compiled data for the first six months of the year, showing which group of states recorded the strongest job gains. 

Since December, a dozen states registered increases in total employment exceeding 1 percent. Those growing at the fastest rates over the short six-month period were Nevada (+1.7 percent), Oregon (+1.7 percent) and Washington state (+1.6 percent).

Overall, Oregon’s economy has enjoyed the top growth of any state, outpacing the nation as a whole since 2013. Nick Beleiciks, a state employment economist, said that while Portland has fared well for several years, job creation has spread to other areas of the state more recently. “Things are still looking up in the near term,” he said. “The growth has been pretty broad-based industry-wise and is more broad-based geographically.”

Professional and business service-sector jobs account for many of the 31,000 new jobs over the past six months. Nike, which is headquartered in Beaverton, Ore., is expanding, and Beleiciks also singled out construction, the state’s fastest growing industry, as it has increased by 10 percent over the year.

About half of states aren’t adding jobs quite as fast. States like Arizona, Illinois and New York are growing at a slower pace. 

In another nine states, employment has remained essentially flat since December. Alaska and Kansas, for example, have yet to experience any growth this year, and looking back further, employment levels remain nearly unchanged from a year ago.

A select few states -- primarily those with struggling energy sectors -- suffered notable job losses. Wyoming has shed more than 2 percent of its workforce since December, the largest decline nationally, according to the latest federal estimates. Coal miners there continue to be laid off by the hundreds. A recent report by the state department of administration and information painted a bleak outlook, stating that an oversupply of natural gas and oil serves as an ongoing issue for state producers. Similarly, North Dakota has lost about 1.5 percent of its employment base, or 7,000 jobs, since December.

In terms of total net gains, California (+186,000), Florida (+113,000) and other large states have added the most jobs. In Texas, monthly employment gains appear to have tapered off a bit following strong growth in recent years. Since December, the state’s economy has expanded at a slower rate than most other states and more than twice as slow as California and Florida.

State 6-Month Change in Employment 6-Month % Change December 2015 June 2016
California 185,600 1.1% 16,274,100 16,459,700
Florida 113,000 1.4% 8,211,500 8,324,500
New York 65,300 0.7% 9,298,400 9,363,700
Georgia 57,500 1.3% 4,330,100 4,387,600
Texas 56,200 0.5% 11,931,100 11,987,300
North Carolina 54,200 1.3% 4,275,000 4,329,200
Washington 50,600 1.6% 3,195,300 3,245,900
Massachusetts 48,100 1.4% 3,515,400 3,563,500
Michigan 41,800 1.0% 4,288,600 4,330,400
Maryland 31,200 1.2% 2,683,300 2,714,500
Oregon 30,700 1.7% 1,803,700 1,834,400
Illinois 29,400 0.5% 5,974,200 6,003,600
Wisconsin 28,300 1.0% 2,904,100 2,932,400
Pennsylvania 25,300 0.4% 5,868,100 5,893,400
Ohio 21,600 0.4% 5,475,400 5,497,000
Missouri 21,600 0.8% 2,783,300 2,804,900
Utah 21,100 1.5% 1,398,100 1,419,200
Nevada 21,100 1.7% 1,267,700 1,288,800
Colorado 20,100 0.8% 2,578,600 2,598,700
Arizona 19,500 0.7% 2,681,600 2,701,100
New Jersey 17,800 0.4% 4,072,800 4,090,600
South Carolina 15,900 0.8% 2,035,200 2,051,100
Minnesota 13,700 0.5% 2,875,700 2,889,400
Connecticut 13,400 0.8% 1,680,000 1,693,400
Tennessee 11,400 0.4% 2,941,200 2,952,600
Virginia 10,700 0.3% 3,902,100 3,912,800
Indiana 10,500 0.3% 3,059,700 3,070,200
Hawaii 8,900 1.4% 642,000 650,900
Alabama 8,800 0.4% 1,957,500 1,966,300
District of Columbia 7,600 1.0% 768,100 775,700
Iowa 7,200 0.5% 1,573,900 1,581,100
Delaware 6,000 1.3% 456,000 462,000
New Hampshire 5,800 0.9% 661,100 666,900
Maine 4,200 0.7% 610,900 615,100
South Dakota 4,200 1.0% 431,200 435,400
Idaho 3,900 0.6% 687,400 691,300
New Mexico 3,900 0.5% 828,000 831,900
Montana 2,900 0.6% 461,100 464,000
Oklahoma 2,700 0.2% 1,663,100 1,665,800
Nebraska 2,500 0.2% 1,013,900 1,016,400
Vermont 2,400 0.8% 313,500 315,900
Kansas 1,700 0.1% 1,401,700 1,403,400
West Virginia 1,300 0.2% 761,500 762,800
Alaska 400 0.1% 339,200 339,600
Arkansas -100 0.0% 1,227,000 1,226,900
Rhode Island -100 0.0% 488,500 488,400
Louisiana -2,400 -0.1% 1,980,000 1,977,600
Kentucky -3,000 -0.2% 1,908,400 1,905,400
Wyoming -6,100 -2.1% 286,600 280,500
North Dakota -6,500 -1.5% 444,700 438,200
Mississippi -7,600 -0.7% 1,144,700 1,137,100

SOURCE: Author's calculations of BLS nonfarm seasonally-adjusted employment estimates
NOTE: June job estimates are preliminary.

For only June, total nonfarm employment climbed nearly 1 percent in Delaware for the largest monthly increase. Preliminary estimates further suggest Hawaii, Maine, Nevada and New Hampshire experienced strong growth last month as well. Meanwhile, West Virginia shed another 0.8 percent of its workforce (-6,000 jobs) for the largest monthly decline. While the state’s mining sector has experienced a slow and steady decline, the biggest hit last month was the loss of an estimated 10,000 public-sector jobs.

South Dakota (2.7 percent) and New Hampshire (2.8 percent) report the nation’s lowest unemployment rates. At 6.7 percent, Alaska is home to the highest jobless rate.

Over the longer term, Oregon (+3.2 percent), Utah (+3.2 percent) and Delaware (+3.1 percent) registered the top job gains over the past 12 months. Only seven states experienced declines or have seen employment levels remain unchanged. Nowhere is incurring a economic downturn quite like North Dakota, where the oil boom has come to halt. Since last June, the state has lost an estimated 15,000 workers -- 3.3 percent of its employment -- the largest job loss nationally.

Special Projects
Sponsored Stories
In recent years, local governments have been forced to adapt to a wildly changing world, especially as it pertains to sending bills and collecting payments.
Workplace safety is in the spotlight as government leaders adapt to a prolonged pandemic.
While government employees, students and the general public had to wait in line for hours in the beginning of the pandemic, at-home test kits make it easy to diagnose for the novel coronavirus in less than 30 minutes.
Governments around the nation are working to design the best vaccine policies that keep both their employees and their residents safe. Although the latest data shows a variety of polarizing perspectives, there are clear emerging best practices that leading governments are following to put trust first: creating policies that are flexible and provide a range of options, and being in tune with the needs and sentiments of their employees so that they are able to be dynamic and accommodate the rapidly changing situation.
Service delivery and the individual experience within health and human services (HHS) is often very siloed and fragmented.
In this episode, Marianne Steger explains why health care for Pre-Medicare retirees and active employees just got easier.
Government organizations around the world are experiencing the consequences of plagiarism firsthand. A simple mistake can lead to loss of reputation, loss of trust and even lawsuits. It’s important to avoid plagiarism at all costs, and government organizations are held to a particularly high standard. Fortunately, technological solutions such as iThenticate allow government organizations to avoid instances of text plagiarism in an efficient manner.
Creating meaningful citizen experiences in a post-COVID world requires embracing digital initiatives like secure and ethical data sharing, artificial intelligence and more.
GHD identified four themes critical for municipalities to address to reach net-zero by 2050. Will you be ready?