PROTECTING SMALL BUSINESS, PROMOTING ENTREPRENEURSHIP

What States Have Done Best and Worst in Recovering Jobs?

By at 21 August, 2021, 10:28 am

by Raymond J. Keating –

The latest state employment report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that nonfarm payroll employment increased in 38 states in July 2021 compared to the previous month, with 12 states essentially unchanged.

But what tells us more about the state of jobs in each state is to compare July 2021 payroll employment to the pre-pandemic level in February 2020 (all data seasonally adjusted).

The following table ranks the states from the best performance to the worst in percentage terms over this timeframe.

Rank State Percent Change, Feb 2020 to July 2021
1 Idaho 2.46
2 Utah 1.68
3 Arizona -0.48
4 North Carolina -0.68
5 Arkansas -0.87
6 Montana -1.02
7 South Dakota -1.31
8 Georgia -1.72
9 Tennessee -2.19
10 Mississippi -2.27
11 Texas -2.37
12 Nebraska -2.40
13 Alabama -2.64
14 Missouri -2.64
15 West Virginia -2.83
16 Colorado -2.84
17 Iowa -3.07
18 Maine -3.11
19 Washington -3.46
20 Florida -3.48
21 South Carolina -3.50
22 Kansas -3.63
23 Wisconsin -3.67
24 Indiana -3.80
25 Vermont -3.85
26 Oregon -4.17
27 Oklahoma -4.23
28 Minnesota -4.43
29 Delaware -4.49
30 New Hampshire -4.55
31 Kentucky -4.55
32 Ohio -4.61
33 Virginia -4.81
34 Maryland -4.88
35 Wyoming -5.06
36 North Dakota -5.35
37 Illinois -5.35
38 Massachusetts -5.65
39 Connecticut -5.84
40 Rhode Island -5.84
41 California -6.11
42 Pennsylvania -6.18
43 Nevada -6.34
44 Michigan -6.63
45 New Mexico -6.67
46 New Jersey -6.78
47 Louisiana -7.31
48 Alaska -7.64
49 New York -9.16
50 Hawaii -11.44

 

As we see, only two states – Idaho and Utah – experienced gains in payrolls from February 2020 to July 2021. And the spread among the states is strikingly wide, from the gains in Idaho (+2.46%) and Utah (+1.68%) to the states still down markedly, at the bottom being Hawaii (-11.44%) and New York (-9.16%).

At the troubling end of this table, there were 10 states still down by better than 6% in terms of employment.

Also, among the top four population states, New York, again, has fared the worst, down by 9.16%, with California also in that bottom ten, with a decline of 6.11%. Meanwhile, Florida ranked 20th among the states, down by 3.48%, and Texas came in at 11, down by 2.37%.

Besides the health policies related to the pandemic, it must be noted that New York and California impose far greater governmental burdens on entrepreneurs, businesses, investors and workers compared to those in Texas and Florida. Therefore, any recovery will be hampered more so in New York and California.

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

 

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