Special Report

States Adding the Most Jobs Since the Great Recession

Welcome to Ohio Sign
Source: Thinkstock

35. Ohio
> 10-yr. employment change: +1.8%
> Employment change: 97,600
> Dec. unemployment: 4.9%
> Total employment: 5,517,200

Ohio employment rose by 1.8% over the past decade, which is a smaller increase than the vast majority of states. The state, which has been struggling with long-term economic issues, was also hard hit during the subprime housing crisis and subsequent Great Recession. A Rust Belt state, Ohio has been dealing with decades of job losses in the manufacturing sector. More recently, since 2007, manufacturing employment fell by more than 50,000, a 6% decline. Construction slumped in many states during the recession, and Ohio’s already relatively small construction industry declined even further and has not recovered. Construction employment in the state declined by 14.1%.

The Sunset, Green Bay, Wisconsin
Source: Thinkstock

34. Wisconsin
> 10-yr. employment change: +1.9%
> Employment change: 55,200
> Dec. unemployment: 4.0%
> Total employment: 2,932,800

By at least one measure, Wisconsin’s economy has recovered from the effects of the recession. The state’s unemployment rate, which stood at 4.8% in December 2007, peaked at 9.2% in December 2009. To date, the rate improved to 4%, better than the U.S. unemployment rate of 4.7%. However, the state’s substantial manufacturing sector remains diminished as a result of the recession. The number of state workers employed in manufacturing fell by about 2% from 2007. The share of state workers employed in manufacturing fell from 19.4% in 2007 to 18.4% today, representing a decline in total sector employment of 12,245.

33. Arkansas
> 10-yr. employment change: +2.0%
> Employment change: 24,600
> Dec. unemployment: 3.9%
> Total employment: 1,232,200

The number of employed workers in Arkansas has increased by a modest 2.0% in the last decade. This 24,600 increase in total employment has put a dent in the state’s unemployment rate. Currently at 3.9%, the share of the state’s labor force out of work is lower than the 4.7% national unemployment rate and 1.3 percentage points below the state’s unemployment rate 10 years prior.

Despite some modest economic improvements, Arkansas remains one of the poorest states in the country. The typical household in the state earns only $41,995 a year, the second lowest median income of any state. In addition, 19.1% of Arkansas residents live in poverty, well above the 14.7% national poverty rate.

French Quarter, downtown New Orleans, Louisiana
Source: Thinkstock

32. Louisiana
> 10-yr. employment change: +2.1%
> Employment change: 39,900
> Dec. unemployment: 6.1%
> Total employment: 1,975,400

Employment in Louisiana has climbed by 39,900 in the last decade, a 2.1% increase. Despite the job growth, Louisiana’s unemployment rate increased by 2.0 percentage points over the past decade. Its current unemployment rate is 6.1%, well above the 4.7% national unemployment rate.

Many Americans receive health insurance coverage from their employers. Likely due in part to Louisiana’s modest job growth and widespread unemployment, the state’s uninsured rate is a higher than average. Nearly 12% of Louisiana’s population is uninsured, one of the higher rates of any state.

Montpelier, Vermont, USA town skyline at twilight.
Source: Thinkstock

31. Vermont
> 10-yr. employment change: +2.4%
> Employment change: 7,300
> Dec. unemployment: 3.1%
> Total employment: 315,800

Compared with most states, Vermont weathered the recession exceptionally well. After 2007, unemployment in the state peaked in May 2009 at 7%, well below the peak reached in the vast majority of states. Similarly, while job markets in most states have yet to return to prerecession levels, Vermont’s current unemployment rate of 3.1% is lower than it was in December 2007 and one of the lowest in the nation.

Attaining a college degree is one of the most reliable paths to stable employment, and Vermont residents’ high levels of education may partially account for the state’s history of enduring economic challenges. Of adults in the state, 36.9% have a bachelor’s degree, seventh highest of all states and up from 33.6% of adults in 2007.