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BLS State Employment Data: Job Recovery Varies Widely

By at 22 July, 2022, 4:12 pm

by Raymond J. Keating – 

The latest state employment report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) makes clear how the jobs picture varies widely by state.

As noted by the BLS, “Nonfarm payroll employment increased in 13 states, decreased in 2 states, and was essentially unchanged in 35 states and the District of Columbia in June 2022. Over the year, nonfarm payroll employment increased in 47 states and the District and was essentially unchanged in 3 states.”

However, more telling is where each state stands in terms of employment versus pre-pandemic levels. Has the state recovered from the job losses brought on by the pandemic?

Percent Change in Payroll Employment from February 2020 to June 2022

Rank State Percent Change
1 Idaho 6.05
2 Utah 4.84
3 Montana 3.78
4 Georgia 3.22
5 Texas 3.18
6 North Carolina 3.08
7 Florida 3.01
8 Tennessee 2.82
9 Arizona 2.59
10 Arkansas 2.18
11 Nevada 1.85
12 Colorado 1.56
13 South Dakota 0.86
14 Oregon 0.12
15 Indiana 0.07
16 Kentucky 0.03
17 South Carolina -0.13
18 Mississippi -0.23
19t Missouri -0.28
19th Alabama -0.28
21 California -0.50
22 Iowa -0.54
23 Nebraska -0.67
24 New Jersey -0.69
25 Oklahoma -0.71
26 Washington -0.74
27 Maine -0.75
28 West Virginia -1.00
29 Massachusetts -1.30
30 Virginia -1.34
31 Illinois -1.47
32 New Hampshire -1.54
33 Wyoming -1.66
34 Minnesota -2.11
35 Wisconsin -2.14
36 New Mexico -2.16
37 Delaware -2.33
38 Rhode Island -2.36
39 Ohio -2.39
40 Kansas -2.56
41 Pennsylvania -2.60
42 Connecticut -2.85
43 Maryland -2.90
44 Michigan -3.01
45 North Dakota -3.20
46 New York -4.05
47 Louisiana -4.57
48 Vermont -4.65
49 Alaska -5.76
50 Hawaii -8.02

 

As noted in the above table, only 16 out of 50 states had managed by June 2022 to climb back to or above pre-pandemic state employment levels in February 2020. And the disparity is striking, from a gain of 6.05 percent in Idaho down to a decline of 8.02 percent in Hawaii.

State and local policymakers should be looking at these numbers, as well as the trend in state economic growth (see SBE Council’s analysis), and working to make their policy climates, such as tax and regulatory policies, as friendly for entrepreneurship, investment and business as possible.

Raymond J. Keating is chief economist for the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council. His latest book is The Weekly Economist: 52 Quick Reads to Help You Think Like an Economist.

 

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