PROTECTING SMALL BUSINESS, PROMOTING ENTREPRENEURSHIP

A Declining Labor Force in 8 States

By at 5 March, 2020, 11:23 pm

by Raymond J. Keating-

According to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the U.S. labor force has been on the rise over the past two years. However, that doesn’t mean that this positive development has held across the entire country.

For example, the BLS “Regional and State Unemployment – 2019 Annual Averages” report notes that 8 states actually experienced declines in their labor forces in 2019 versus 2018.

State

   Labor Force 2018

   (in thousands)

     Labor Force 2019

     (in thousands)

     SBSI 2019

     Rank

Alaska

   353

     348

     23rd

Hawaii

   675

     665

     48th

Illinois

   6,464

     6,447

     35th

Louisiana

   2,104

     2,095

     29th

Maine

   696

     693

     41st

New York

   9,522

     9,514

     47th

Vermont

   345

     342

     45th

Wisconsin

   3,118

     3,105

     28th

It’s not surprising that these states generally rank poorly 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.

As noted in the table above, seven of these eight states ranked among the lower half of the states on the Index – that is, among the most costly states.

These losses in the labor force aren’t necessarily surprising, as economic opportunity is reduced due to higher levels of governmental burdens. That is, the more costly policy climates have chased away business, investors and therefore, workers.

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

 

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