Job Growth in the States: The Latest BLS Data

By at 27 January, 2020, 11:22 am

by Raymond J. Keating-

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ new report on state employment shows that job growth in the states cooled at the close of 2019. Let’s look at three key takeaways from this report.

First, compared to the previous month, only three states experienced employment growth in December – Texas, Washington and Arkansas. Otherwise, nonfarm payroll employment “was essentially unchanged” in December versus November in the other 47 states.

Second, as for comparing December 2019 to December 2018, 26 states added jobs, while 24 showed no growth – a notable divide.

Third, nine states had employment growth from December 2018 to December 2019 that topped 2 percent. Eight of those nine states ranked in the top 15 states 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. (See the following table.)

Top States in Employment Growth, December 2018 to December 2019 (Percent Change)

State     Employment Gain     SBPI 2019 Ranking
Utah     3.1%     7th
Idaho     2.9%     26th
Arizona     2.8%     9th
Texas     2.7%     1st
Florida     2.4%     3rd
Washington     2.4%     10th
Alabama     2.2%     8th
Colorado     2.1%     12th
North Carolina     2.1%     15th


When it comes to growing entrepreneurship, small businesses, the economy and jobs, the policy foundation matters. State and local lawmakers need to get the policy mix right, as do Congress and the White House. That mix needs to be focused on limiting government burdens on and interference in the economy, so that freedom and opportunity can flourish.

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


News and Media Releases