Special Report

States Adding the Most Jobs Since the Great Recession

Petroleum Oil Production Plant Illinois
Source: Thinkstock

30. Michigan
> 10-yr. employment change: +2.8%
> Employment change: 118,200
> Dec. unemployment: 5.0%
> Total employment: 4,363,600

Michigan was hit especially hard during the 2008 economic downturn. Unemployment in the state peaked at 14.9% in June 2009, the highest post-recession unemployment level any state over the past decade. However, Michigan’s jobless rate improved to 5.0% as of December 2016, dropping by 9.9 percentage points from the peak in 2009 — the largest improvement of all states.

Although the nation’s manufacturing sector has declined in recent decades, a high share of Michigan’s workforce remains employed by the industry. Michigan’s manufacturing sector employs 18.1% of the state’s workforce, versus the national percentage of 10.3% and third highest of all states.

American Country, Farm, Indiana
Source: Thinkstock

29. Indiana
> 10-yr. employment change: +3.0%
> Employment change: 90,600
> Dec. unemployment: 4.0%
> Total employment: 3,083,700

Over the last decade, Indiana employment increased by 90,600. The uptick helped reduce the ranks of jobless state workers, as unemployment fell by 0.8 percentage points to 4.0% over the same period.

Compared with other states, however, Indiana’s employment growth is modest. Income growth in the state was even more modest. Indiana’s median annual household income has increased by only $3,084 since 2007. Meanwhile, the typical American household now earns $5,035 more than it did in 2007.

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Aerial View
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28. Oklahoma
> 10-yr. employment change: +3.2%
> Employment change: 51,200
> Dec. unemployment: 5.0%
> Total employment: 1,657,500

Oklahoma’s 5.0% unemployment rate is well below the state’s 7.1% 10-year peak in December 2009. Despite recovering from some of the worst effects of the recession, unemployment in the state remains 1.4 percentage points higher than it was in December 2007.

In the last 10 years, total employment in the state has increased by a modest 3.2%, slower than in the majority of other states. The manufacturing, wholesale trade, and information sectors were each a drag on employment growth, shedding thousands of jobs in the last 10 years.

Welcome to Kentucky sign
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27. Kentucky
> 10-yr. employment change: +3.3%
> Employment change: 61,600
> Dec. unemployment: 4.8%
> Total employment: 1,919,400

Employment in Kentucky has increased by 62,000 over the past decade. The 3.3% increase fell slightly behind job growth in most states over the same period. One drag on growth was the state’s transportation and warehousing industry. There were 121,386 workers employed in the industry in 2007, accounting for 6.4% of Kentucky’s labor force, the third highest share among states. By 2015, the industry had shed over 8,000 jobs, and the share of people working in the industry fell to 5.9%.

Manchester, New Hampshire, USA Skyline on the Merrimack River.
Source: Thinkstock

26. New Hampshire
> 10-yr. employment change: +3.4%
> Employment change: 22,200
> Dec. unemployment: 2.6%
> Total employment: 672,600

After Massachusetts, New Hampshire had the most robust growth in employment of any New England state over the last 10 years. There are 22,200 more jobs in New Hampshire today than there were a decade ago. This growth has helped reduce unemployment across the state. Down by nearly a full percentage point since December 2007, New Hampshire’s unemployment rate stands at 2.6%, the lowest of any state in the country.

Not only has the number of jobs increased across the state, but so too have incomes. The typical New Hampshire household earns $70,303 a year, nearly $8,000 more than in 2007. In comparison, incomes nationwide have increased by only about $5,000.