Special Report

States Adding the Most Jobs Since the Great Recession

Charlotte North Carolina
Source: Thinkstock

20. North Carolina
> 10-yr. employment change: +4.6%
> Employment change: 192,400
> Dec. unemployment: 5.1%
> Total employment: 4,360,200

Unemployment in North Carolina spiked severely following the Great Recession, reaching a peak of 11.3% in January 2010. The state has recovered since then, with current unemployment at 5.1%, effectively the same as it was prior to the recession. Since 2007, employment in North Carolina has increased by about 192,000, a 4.6% increase that exceeds that of most states over the last decade. A large share of the state’s job growth came in the professional and scientific sector, which added over 95,000 workers since 2007, a 24% increase.

Rosslyn, Arlington, Virginia, USA Arlington County, downtown skyline on the Potamac River.
Source: Thinkstock

19. Virginia
> 10-yr. employment change: +4.6%
> Employment change: 174,700
> Dec. unemployment: 4.1%
> Total employment: 3,951,700

At 4.6%, employment growth in Virginia over the last 10-years has outpaced employment growth in most states. The state has added 174,700 jobs since December 2007, bringing total employment up to nearly 4 million.

Job growth in the state has not been enough to keep up with demand for work, however, as Virginia’s unemployment rate is 0.6 percentage points higher than it was a decade ago. Still, at 4.1%, the share of the state’s labor force that is out of a job is lower than the 4.7% national unemployment rate and well below the 7.4% 10-year unemployment rate peak in Virginia.

Aerial view of Juneau , Alaska
Source: Thinkstock

18. Alaska
> 10-yr. employment change: +5.2%
> Employment change: 16,600
> Dec. unemployment: 6.7%
> Total employment: 334,600

Alaska’s 6.7% unemployment rate is the highest of any state. Despite a 5.2% increase in the number of jobs in the state over the past decade, unemployment has only gotten worse. Now 0.3 percentage points higher than in December 2007, Alaska’s unemployment rate has recovered only modestly from a post-recession high of 8.0%.

After shedding thousands of construction and manufacturing jobs in the last decade, Alaska’s economy now relies more on a single sector. Some 11.7% of the state’s workforce is now employed in public administration, the largest share of any state and more than double the comparable 4.6% national share.

Minnesota welcomes you sign
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17. Minnesota
> 10-yr. employment change: +5.3%
> Employment change: 148,000
> Dec. unemployment: 3.9%
> Total employment: 2,919,300

Minnesota added 148,000 jobs over the past decade, a 5.3% increase. During that time, the state’s unemployment rate fell from 4.7% to 3.9%, compared to a current U.S. unemployment rate of 4.7%. The state’s healthy employment growth and low unemployment rate may be partially the result of its skilled labor force. Roughly 35% of the state’s adults have a bachelor’s degree, and 92.8% have a high school diploma, the 10th and third highest shares among states, respectively.

Aerial view of Omaha, Nebraska
Source: Thinkstock

16. Nebraska
> 10-yr. employment change: +5.5%
> Employment change: 53,600
> Dec. unemployment: 3.4%
> Total employment: 1,021,300

Nebraska added some 53,600 jobs in the last 10 years, bringing the total number of workers in the state to over a million. Despite the 5.5% uptick in employment, the share of the state’s labor force looking for work rose over the same period. Nebraska’s unemployment rate increased from 3.0% in December 2007 to 3.4% in December 2016.

While joblessness is a bigger problem than it was a decade ago in Nebraska, it remains well below the 4.7% national unemployment rate. Nebraska was also one of only a few states to escape the recession relatively unscathed. Unemployment in the state peaked at 4.8% in January 2009, the lowest post-recession unemployment peak of any state except North Dakota.