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States that have gained (or lost) the most jobs in 2019 so far

  • States that have gained (or lost) the most jobs in 2019 so far

    With a presidential election on the horizon in one year, the health of the economy may be on Americans’ minds when they cast a ballot for incumbent Republican President Donald Trump on Nov. 3, 2020, or for whomever his Democratic challenger turns out to be.

    Asking Americans whether they feel they were better or worse off than they were a year prior is a time-honored question in presidential and electoral politics. But just how can such a metric be gauged?

    One way is to look at employment data. And a key piece of employment data is how many jobs were lost or gained over a given year. However, it bears remembering that other factors are also at play in looking at the unemployment rate and other jobs data. This includes the number of people actively looking for work—if people stop looking for work, unemployment may artificially go down, as unemployment numbers only count the number of people actively looking for work who are unable to find jobs.

    It also pays to remember that low unemployment isn’t uniformly good news. When unemployment is low, many businesses have a hard time finding workers to fill open jobs. When this happens because of a lack of skilled workers, businesses or state officials may try to narrow the gap by providing jobs training. But other factors can influence the employers' difficulty retaining top talent, with some business leaders voicing fears that employees in states with low unemployment rates may simply feel freer to leave their jobs and find new ones than they would at a time of high unemployment.

    To determine the states that have gained the most jobs in 2019, Stacker consulted the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics State Employment and Unemployment data, last updated in October 2019. All 50 states and the District of Columbia are ranked here according to the percentage of jobs gained (or lost) in those states from December 2018 to September 2019.

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  • #51. Hawaii

    - Net change in employment: -2.6% (17,295 jobs lost)
    - Sept. 2019 employment: 660,402 jobs
    - Net change in unemployment: -0.1% (Sept. 2019 unemployment rate: 2.7%, 17,749 people unemployed)

    By almost any metric, job-seekers in Hawaii should be happy. One of the best benefits in the state? The hourly rate, which is over $26 an hour, is well above the national average. The state is also among the most expensive to live in.

  • #50. Alaska

    - Net change in employment: -1.7% (6,167 jobs lost)
    - Sept. 2019 employment: 350,125 jobs
    - Net change in unemployment: 0.3% (Sept. 2019 unemployment rate: 6.2%, 21,703 people unemployed)

    Alaska’s unemployment is at a record low, but that doesn’t tell the whole story. Some economists have said that the low unemployment levels reflect a discouraged workforce, with fewer people now looking for work than were previously.

  • #49. Maine

    - Net change in employment: -1% (7,294 jobs lost)
    - Sept. 2019 employment: 691,020 jobs
    - Net change in unemployment: 0.6% (Sept. 2019 unemployment rate: 2.9%, 19,697 people unemployed)

    Community college enrollment usually spikes when unemployment is high. But that’s not the case in Maine, where low unemployment has still seen an enrollment bump in the state’s community colleges—which should make graduates all the more competitive when they receive degrees.

  • #48. New York

    - Net change in employment: -1% (92,569 jobs lost)
    - Sept. 2019 employment: 9.5 million jobs
    - Net change in unemployment: 0% (Sept. 2019 unemployment rate: 3.9%, 375,979 people unemployed)

    A recent strike by GM employees has been intended to benefit workers at the automobile manufacturing giant. But that’s not necessarily what is happening in New York, as Gov. Andrew Cuomo blocked unemployment benefits to more than 3,000 strikers, who are, by their own choice, out of work.

  • #47. California

    - Net change in employment: -0.5% (106,802 jobs lost)
    - Sept. 2019 employment: 19.4 million jobs
    - Net change in unemployment: 0.1% (Sept. 2019 unemployment rate: 4.0%, 773,987 people unemployed)

    California’s unemployment rate is its lowest in four decades. The state’s top three drivers of growth? Manufacturing, professional services, and the arts.

    [Pictured: A technician works on the descent stage for NASA's Mars 2020 mission inside JPL's Spacecraft Assembly Facility in Pasadena, CA.]

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  • #46. Connecticut

    - Net change in employment: -0.5% (9,700 jobs lost)
    - Sept. 2019 employment: 1.9 million jobs
    - Net change in unemployment: 0.2% (Sept. 2019 unemployment rate: 3.6%, 68,274 people unemployed)

    Connecticut’s economy is the strongest it has been in eight years. But that hasn’t helped its ranking nationally—the state is still in the bottom half in the country as measured by economic and employment health, including wages and the overall employment rate.

  • #45. Louisiana

    - Net change in employment: -0.3% (5,547 jobs lost)
    - Sept. 2019 employment: 2.1 million jobs
    - Net change in unemployment: 0.6% (Sept. 2019 unemployment rate: 4.3%, 90,952 people unemployed)

    The State of Louisiana’s job growth is a topic of debate. The state’s two most-recent candidates for governor had sparred over which statistics illuminate the state of the economy accurately, and whether strong jobs numbers are recent enough for the current governor to stake a claim.

  • #44. Indiana

    - Net change in employment: -0.3% (8,637 jobs lost)
    - Sept. 2019 employment: 3.4 million jobs
    - Net change in unemployment: 0.3% (Sept. 2019 unemployment rate: 3.2%, 109,430 people unemployed)

    Indiana is experiencing record low unemployment across the state. In September, joblessness was down in nearly every city and town where it is tracked for the lowest unemployment rate in almost two decades.

  • #43. Rhode Island

    - Net change in employment: -0.2% (966 jobs lost)
    - Sept. 2019 employment: 555,268 jobs
    - Net change in unemployment: 0.4% (Sept. 2019 unemployment rate: 3.6%, 19,997 people unemployed)

    Although 400 jobs were cut in Rhode Island from August to September, the unemployment rate stayed the same. This was partially because of an increase in Rhode Islanders with jobs, including those working out of state.

  • #42. Kansas

    - Net change in employment: -0.2% (2,413 jobs lost)
    - Sept. 2019 employment: 1.5 million jobs
    - Net change in unemployment: 0.1% (Sept. 2019 unemployment rate: 3.2%, 46,892 people unemployed)

    One surprising impact of the relatively low unemployment rate in the State of Kansas? More workers quitting their jobs. Some employers have anecdotally suggested that job-hopping may be up because workers feel confident they will be able to find another job if they leave their current workplace.

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