State Job Growth — December 2018

Axioms are truths, and my primary Axiom is that Jobs Are everything to an economy.  Period.   That is the speech topic for 2019.

Given a rocketing 312,000 net new jobs created nationwide in December 2018, many states fared the same with better-than-expected results.  Then there are others as job growth is not systemic across the country by state.  Variability in job growth exists across all states at any point in time and also within the same state over a time period.    As usual, I invoke the TINSTAANREM axiom — There Is No Such Thing As A National Real Estate Market or a National Economy.  The same is true regarding job growth.

The first table shows the percent change in jobs for each state and the District of Columbia for the 12-months ending December 2018.  The analysis is based on seasonally adjusted data as provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.  Only two states posted a loss in jobs in the prior 12-months with Vermont down almost zero (-0.06 percent) and Alaska with a miniscule drop of 0.12 percent.  In comparison, the U.S. posted a 1.79 percent gain in the same period.

The following table shows the respective ranks of job growth among the 50 states and the District of Columbia as of December for 2017 and 2018 along with the change of ranks in the prior 12-months.   The Ranks Gain column shows the total improvement (or loss) in ranking of 12-month job growth rates in the past 12-months.  Most improved states included North Dakota (rising from 50th overall a year ago to 14th), Delaware (46th to 12th), Maryland (48th to 22nd), Ohio (39th to 15th) and New Hampshire (31st to 8th best).  Those dropping the most in rankings were Montana (minus 29 ranks), Minnesota (down 24 positions), Mississippi (dipping 21 slots) and the District of Columbia and Pennsylvania sliding 20 each.

The next table looks at the top-10 state job growth rates over an extended time period.  In addition to the one-year job growth rate, it includes ranks of job growth over two-, five- and 10-years.   These ranks (for the intervals of 1-, 2-, 5- and 10-years) were then summed (the Growth Index Score), with the lowest sum ranked the best overall indicating the top-job performance (the Job Growth Index).  When using the Job Growth Index Rank for the four time periods, Utah once again ranked best overall, scoring best in the 10-year period, second best in 2- and 5-Year time periods and 4th best for the 1-year span.  That is strong job performance over a decade.  Nevada is also an impressive consistently strong performer in job creation in the past decade ranking 1st in the 1-, 2 and 5-year periods and 8th best over the 10-year duration.


As always, where there are winners there are also losers.  The following table includes the data for the Job Growth Index for the 10 states having the lowest ranking 1-year growth rate.  West Virginia, Vermont and Alaska have struggled consistently in the past 10-years, having not posted better than a 44th rank across the four time spans.  Overall Alaska struggles the most, ending last in all but the 10-year job growth interval – and then ranking just 49th.

Click here a PDF including respective job performance for all 50 states and the District of Columbia. It is sorted alphabetically by state and includes all of the data and ranks previously discussed.

Jobs are everything.  Period.

Some states are better than others, and others not so much.


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