State Spotlight: Nation Split on Job Growth

By at 16 August, 2019, 10:59 am

by Raymond J. Keating-

The latest employment data on the states point to the nation being split on employment gains, but also with a distinct advantage existing for states with positive policy climates for entrepreneurship and investment.

In its state employment and unemployment report for July 2019, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics noted that over the past year, 25 states added nonfarm payroll jobs, while 25 were in effect unchanged.

Of course, a wide array of factors comes into play in terms of job gains. But it’s instructive to note that out of the top 10 states in terms of job gains over the past year, eight ranked among the top 10 on SBE Council’s “Small Business Policy Index 2019: Ranking the States on Policy Measures and Costs Impacting Entrepreneurship and Small Business Growth,” which ranks the 50 states according to 62 different policy measures, including assorted tax, regulatory and government spending measures.

For good measure, nine of the top 10 states on job gains ranked among the top 24 states on the Index, and all ten in terms of job gains were among the top 26 states on the Index. (See Table 1.)

Table 1: Top 10 States in Percent Gains in Employment, July 2018 to July 2019, and Each State’s Ranking on the Small Business Policy Index

Rank in Employment Gains   States   Percent Change In Employment, July 2018-2019   Rank on the Small Business Policy Index 2019
1t   Nevada    3.1%   2
1t   Utah    3.1%   7
3   Washington    3.0%   10
4   Idaho    2.8%   26
5t   Florida    2.6%   3
5t   Texas    2.6%   1
7   Arizona    2.5%   9
8   New Mexico    2.4%   24
9 South Dakota    2.1%   4
10   Alabama    2.0%   8


As SBEC Council makes clear time and again, policy matters whether at the federal, state or local levels of government.

Get the policy mix right – that is, for example, encouraging entrepreneurship and investment via lighter tax and regulatory burdens – and the economy will perform far better than if governmental burdens were heavy.

Raymond J. Keating is chief economist for the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council.


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