Job Growth in the States

By at 24 January, 2024, 9:56 am

by Raymond J. Keating –

According to the latest state employment report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), nonfarm payroll employment effectively was unchanged in December 2023 compared to November.

Meanwhile, over the past year, from December 2022 to December 2023, 30 states experienced employment increases versus 20 states seeing effectively no growth.

Over the past year, the biggest gainers in the numbers of jobs were:

● Texas (+369,900)

● California (+311,600)

● Florida (+240,600)

● Pennsylvania (+111,700)

● Ohio (+106,400).

The largest percentage gainers from December 2022 to December 2023 were:

● Nevada (+3.8 percent)

● Idaho (+3.0 percent)

● South Dakota (+3.0 percent)

● Wyoming (+2.8 percent)

● South Carolina (+2.6 percent)

● West Virginia (+2.6 percent).

The key takeaway from this report is the fact that no state had a statistically significant increase in nonfarm payroll employment in December compared to the previous month.

The widespread nature of this stagnation raises additional questions about the overall state of the economy. Of course, we’ll get additional clarity with the release of the first estimate of fourth quarter 2023 real GDP later this week, but at least for now, this latest state data gets added to negatives side of the positives-negatives list of items on the economy.

By the way, federal, state and local policymakers could add to the positives on the economy by moving ahead with pro-growth measures like substantive and permanent tax and regulatory relief, and reining in government spending. Seventeen states have cut individual or corporate income tax rates (with some doing both) that take effect in 2024. That’s good news for small businesses and job growth in those states.

Raymond J. Keating is chief economist for the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council. His latest books on the economy are The Weekly Economist: 52 Quick Reads to Help You Think Like an Economist and The Weekly Economist II: 52 More Quick Reads to Help You Think Like an Economist.


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