Special Report

The Best States to Look for a Job

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Almost as soon as the novel coronavirus reached the U.S. in 2020, the unemployment rate surged to highs not seen since the Great Depression. Since then, the job market has recovered considerably and there are more jobs now than there are people willing to take them – about 4.3 million more to be exact.

In this new reality, job seekers hold the bargaining power. With employers nationwide struggling to fill open positions, many Americans looking for work can be more selective. Rather than settling for a job out of necessity alone, more people are free to choose a career that better suits their interests, offers higher pay, and comes with more benefits. (These are the 25 cities with the highest-paying jobs.)

A record-high 4.5 million Americans quit their jobs for new opportunities in November 2021, suggesting a pervasive feeling of confidence in their ability to find another job. Such optimism appears well-founded, as there were 6.7 million new hires the same month, a high not seen in the pre-pandemic U.S. job market.

While conditions are favorable for job seekers nationwide, some states appear to have more opportunities than others. Using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 24/7 Wall St. identified the best states to look for a job. States are ranked by an index of quit rates, hire rates, and the number of open jobs relative to the unemployed population.

Click here to see the best states to look for a job

The unemployment rate is one of the most common measures used to gauge the health of a job market. High unemployment suggests many who are out of work are struggling to find a job, while a low jobless rate indicates that there are jobs for nearly anyone who wants one. Not surprisingly, the higher ranking states on this list also tend to have lower than average unemployment rates, and vice versa. Here is a look at the state with the highest unemployment in America.

Methodology 

To determine the best states to look for a job, 24/7 Wall St. created an index using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The index comprises three components: the share of workers who quit their job in November 2021; the share of workers who were hired in November 2021; and the ratio of unfilled jobs to job seekers, or open jobs divided by the number of unemployed state residents.

Quits are defined as voluntary departures from an employer and do not include those entering retirement. Job openings are the number of positions – full-time, part-time, seasonal, short-term, or permanent – open on the last business day of a given month. In order to be counted as open, a job has to start within 30 days of when the employer can find a suitable candidate. Each of these data points are from the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) report from the BLS and are for November 2021, the most recent month of available data.

Unemployment figures — the number of people looking for work who do not currently hold a job – are also from the BLS and are for November 2021.

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50. New York
> Open-job to job-seeker ratio: 1.2-to-1 (3rd lowest)
> New hires in Nov. 2021: 3.7% of all jobs – 3rd lowest (333,000 total hires)
> Quits in Nov. 2021: 2.3% of workforce – the lowest (209,000 total quits)
> Nov 2021 unemployment: 5.5% (the highest)
> 1-year change in job openings: +79.7% (3rd highest)

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49. Massachusetts
> Open-job to job-seeker ratio: 1.7-to-1 (21st lowest)
> New hires in Nov. 2021: 3.5% of all jobs – the lowest (123,000 total hires)
> Quits in Nov. 2021: 2.5% of workforce – 6th lowest (89,000 total quits)
> Nov 2021 unemployment: 4.6% (9th highest)
> 1-year change in job openings: +80.1% (2nd highest)

Source: Image_Source_ / Image Source via Getty Images

48. New Jersey
> Open-job to job-seeker ratio: 1.3-to-1 (4th lowest)
> New hires in Nov. 2021: 3.9% of all jobs – 6th lowest (159,000 total hires)
> Quits in Nov. 2021: 2.5% of workforce – 6th lowest (102,000 total quits)
> Nov 2021 unemployment: 5.2% (7th highest)
> 1-year change in job openings: +33.6% (3rd lowest)

Source: adamkaz / E+ via Getty Images

47. California
> Open-job to job-seeker ratio: 1.1-to-1 (the lowest)
> New hires in Nov. 2021: 4.2% of all jobs – 15th lowest (709,000 total hires)
> Quits in Nov. 2021: 2.5% of workforce – 6th lowest (415,000 total quits)
> Nov 2021 unemployment: 5.4% (3rd highest)
> 1-year change in job openings: +60.6% (17th highest)

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46. Maryland
> Open-job to job-seeker ratio: 1.4-to-1 (9th lowest)
> New hires in Nov. 2021: 3.8% of all jobs – 5th lowest (103,000 total hires)
> Quits in Nov. 2021: 2.7% of workforce – 10th lowest (73,000 total quits)
> Nov 2021 unemployment: 4.6% (9th highest)
> 1-year change in job openings: +44.5% (15th lowest)

Source: fernandogarciaesteban / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

45. Pennsylvania
> Open-job to job-seeker ratio: 1.5-to-1 (11th lowest)
> New hires in Nov. 2021: 4.2% of all jobs – 15th lowest (245,000 total hires)
> Quits in Nov. 2021: 2.4% of workforce – 3rd lowest (139,000 total quits)
> Nov 2021 unemployment: 4.3% (15th highest)
> 1-year change in job openings: +48.7% (23rd lowest)

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Source: RyanJLane / E+ via Getty Images

44. Washington
> Open-job to job-seeker ratio: 1.6-to-1 (17th lowest)
> New hires in Nov. 2021: 4.2% of all jobs – 15th lowest (144,000 total hires)
> Quits in Nov. 2021: 2.4% of workforce – 3rd lowest (84,000 total quits)
> Nov 2021 unemployment: 3.6% (20th highest)
> 1-year change in job openings: +49.3% (24th lowest)

Source: gorodenkoff / iStock via Getty Images

43. Ohio
> Open-job to job-seeker ratio: 2.1-to-1 (25th lowest)
> New hires in Nov. 2021: 3.7% of all jobs – 3rd lowest (201,000 total hires)
> Quits in Nov. 2021: 2.6% of workforce – 7th lowest (141,000 total quits)
> Nov 2021 unemployment: 3.4% (22nd highest)
> 1-year change in job openings: +68% (8th highest)

Source: ChrisBoswell / iStock via Getty Images

42. Connecticut
> Open-job to job-seeker ratio: 1.3-to-1 (5th lowest)
> New hires in Nov. 2021: 4.1% of all jobs – 11th lowest (66,000 total hires)
> Quits in Nov. 2021: 3% of workforce – 16th lowest (49,000 total quits)
> Nov 2021 unemployment: 4.8% (8th highest)
> 1-year change in job openings: +72.3% (4th highest)

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41. Minnesota
> Open-job to job-seeker ratio: 2.8-to-1 (15th highest)
> New hires in Nov. 2021: 3.8% of all jobs – 5th lowest (111,000 total hires)
> Quits in Nov. 2021: 2.7% of workforce – 10th lowest (79,000 total quits)
> Nov 2021 unemployment: 2.2% (13th lowest)
> 1-year change in job openings: +64.3% (12th highest)

Source: Imagesbybarbara / iStock via Getty Images

40. Virginia
> Open-job to job-seeker ratio: 2.6-to-1 (18th highest)
> New hires in Nov. 2021: 4.1% of all jobs – 11th lowest (161,000 total hires)
> Quits in Nov. 2021: 2.7% of workforce – 10th lowest (106,000 total quits)
> Nov 2021 unemployment: 2.7% (20th lowest)
> 1-year change in job openings: +45.4% (16th lowest)

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39. Iowa
> Open-job to job-seeker ratio: 2.4-to-1 (20th highest)
> New hires in Nov. 2021: 4% of all jobs – 7th lowest (61,000 total hires)
> Quits in Nov. 2021: 2.9% of workforce – 13th lowest (44,000 total quits)
> Nov 2021 unemployment: 2.6% (19th lowest)
> 1-year change in job openings: +46.5% (19th lowest)

Source: Joey Ingelhart / E+ via Getty Images

38. New Mexico
> Open-job to job-seeker ratio: 1.2-to-1 (2nd lowest)
> New hires in Nov. 2021: 4.7% of all jobs – 25th lowest (39,000 total hires)
> Quits in Nov. 2021: 3% of workforce – 16th lowest (25,000 total quits)
> Nov 2021 unemployment: 5.3% (6th highest)
> 1-year change in job openings: +50% (25th lowest)

37. Michigan
> Open-job to job-seeker ratio: 1.7-to-1 (20th lowest)
> New hires in Nov. 2021: 4.6% of all jobs – 21st lowest (196,000 total hires)
> Quits in Nov. 2021: 3.1% of workforce – 19th lowest (132,000 total quits)
> Nov 2021 unemployment: 4.2% (16th highest)
> 1-year change in job openings: +55.7% (23rd highest)

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36. Texas
> Open-job to job-seeker ratio: 1.4-to-1 (8th lowest)
> New hires in Nov. 2021: 4.8% of all jobs – 24th highest (628,000 total hires)
> Quits in Nov. 2021: 3.2% of workforce – 22nd lowest (411,000 total quits)
> Nov 2021 unemployment: 4.5% (11th highest)
> 1-year change in job openings: +56.2% (21st highest)

Source: Todd Warnock / DigitalVision via Getty Images

35. Oregon
> Open-job to job-seeker ratio: 1.8-to-1 (22nd lowest)
> New hires in Nov. 2021: 4.7% of all jobs – 25th lowest (89,000 total hires)
> Quits in Nov. 2021: 3.1% of workforce – 19th lowest (59,000 total quits)
> Nov 2021 unemployment: 3.4% (22nd highest)
> 1-year change in job openings: +29.2% (2nd lowest)

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34. Missouri
> Open-job to job-seeker ratio: 2.8-to-1 (16th highest)
> New hires in Nov. 2021: 4.1% of all jobs – 11th lowest (118,000 total hires)
> Quits in Nov. 2021: 3.1% of workforce – 19th lowest (90,000 total quits)
> Nov 2021 unemployment: 2.6% (19th lowest)
> 1-year change in job openings: +70% (6th highest)

Source: LEEDDONG / iStock via Getty Images

33. Kansas
> Open-job to job-seeker ratio: 2.5-to-1 (19th highest)
> New hires in Nov. 2021: 4.2% of all jobs – 15th lowest (58,000 total hires)
> Quits in Nov. 2021: 3.2% of workforce – 22nd lowest (45,000 total quits)
> Nov 2021 unemployment: 2.6% (19th lowest)
> 1-year change in job openings: +46.2% (18th lowest)

Source: DOUGBERRY / iStock via Getty Images

32. Arizona
> Open-job to job-seeker ratio: 1.9-to-1 (23rd lowest)
> New hires in Nov. 2021: 4.6% of all jobs – 21st lowest (138,000 total hires)
> Quits in Nov. 2021: 3.2% of workforce – 22nd lowest (97,000 total quits)
> Nov 2021 unemployment: 3.2% (25th highest)
> 1-year change in job openings: +47.7% (22nd lowest)

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Source: AOtzen / iStock via Getty Images

31. South Dakota
> Open-job to job-seeker ratio: 3.1-to-1 (12th highest)
> New hires in Nov. 2021: 4.3% of all jobs – 16th lowest (19,000 total hires)
> Quits in Nov. 2021: 3% of workforce – 16th lowest (13,000 total quits)
> Nov 2021 unemployment: 2.1% (10th lowest)
> 1-year change in job openings: +40.9% (11th lowest)

Source: DouglasOlivares / iStock via Getty Images

30. Illinois
> Open-job to job-seeker ratio: 1.3-to-1 (7th lowest)
> New hires in Nov. 2021: 5% of all jobs – 18th highest (291,000 total hires)
> Quits in Nov. 2021: 3.3% of workforce – 25th lowest (192,000 total quits)
> Nov 2021 unemployment: 4.5% (11th highest)
> 1-year change in job openings: +56.6% (20th highest)

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29. Nevada
> Open-job to job-seeker ratio: 1.3-to-1 (6th lowest)
> New hires in Nov. 2021: 5.2% of all jobs – 13th highest (71,000 total hires)
> Quits in Nov. 2021: 3.3% of workforce – 25th lowest (45,000 total quits)
> Nov 2021 unemployment: 5.4% (3rd highest)
> 1-year change in job openings: +70.3% (5th highest)

Source: iShootPhotosLLC / iStock Unreleased via Getty Images

28. Rhode Island
> Open-job to job-seeker ratio: 1.6-to-1 (19th lowest)
> New hires in Nov. 2021: 5% of all jobs – 18th highest (24,000 total hires)
> Quits in Nov. 2021: 3.3% of workforce – 25th lowest (16,000 total quits)
> Nov 2021 unemployment: 4.1% (17th highest)
> 1-year change in job openings: +65.2% (11th highest)

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27. Maine
> Open-job to job-seeker ratio: 1.5-to-1 (15th lowest)
> New hires in Nov. 2021: 4.6% of all jobs – 21st lowest (28,000 total hires)
> Quits in Nov. 2021: 3.8% of workforce – 9th highest (23,000 total quits)
> Nov 2021 unemployment: 4.4% (13th highest)
> 1-year change in job openings: +55.2% (24th highest)

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26. Colorado
> Open-job to job-seeker ratio: 1.5-to-1 (12th lowest)
> New hires in Nov. 2021: 5.2% of all jobs – 13th highest (143,000 total hires)
> Quits in Nov. 2021: 3.5% of workforce – 20th highest (96,000 total quits)
> Nov 2021 unemployment: 4.4% (13th highest)
> 1-year change in job openings: +89.3% (the highest)

Source: franckreporter / E+ via Getty Images

25. Florida
> Open-job to job-seeker ratio: 1.6-to-1 (18th lowest)
> New hires in Nov. 2021: 5.3% of all jobs – 8th highest (472,000 total hires)
> Quits in Nov. 2021: 3.4% of workforce – 23rd highest (301,000 total quits)
> Nov 2021 unemployment: 3.6% (20th highest)
> 1-year change in job openings: +61.8% (16th highest)

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24. Delaware
> Open-job to job-seeker ratio: 1.4-to-1 (10th lowest)
> New hires in Nov. 2021: 4.9% of all jobs – 21st highest (22,000 total hires)
> Quits in Nov. 2021: 3.8% of workforce – 9th highest (17,000 total quits)
> Nov 2021 unemployment: 4% (19th highest)
> 1-year change in job openings: +47.4% (20th lowest)

Source: YinYang / E+ via Getty Images

23. Wisconsin
> Open-job to job-seeker ratio: 3.6-to-1 (6th highest)
> New hires in Nov. 2021: 4.1% of all jobs – 11th lowest (119,000 total hires)
> Quits in Nov. 2021: 3.4% of workforce – 23rd highest (97,000 total quits)
> Nov 2021 unemployment: 1.9% (7th lowest)
> 1-year change in job openings: +68.5% (7th highest)

Source: Pgiam / iStock via Getty Images

22. Louisiana
> Open-job to job-seeker ratio: 1.6-to-1 (16th lowest)
> New hires in Nov. 2021: 5.3% of all jobs – 8th highest (99,000 total hires)
> Quits in Nov. 2021: 3.6% of workforce – 15th highest (68,000 total quits)
> Nov 2021 unemployment: 4.1% (17th highest)
> 1-year change in job openings: +36.5% (5th lowest)

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21. Hawaii
> Open-job to job-seeker ratio: 1.5-to-1 (13th lowest)
> New hires in Nov. 2021: 6.6% of all jobs – the highest (38,000 total hires)
> Quits in Nov. 2021: 2.8% of workforce – 11th lowest (16,000 total quits)
> Nov 2021 unemployment: 5.4% (3rd highest)
> 1-year change in job openings: +67.7% (9th highest)

Source: ablokhin / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

20. Alabama
> Open-job to job-seeker ratio: 2.2-to-1 (25th highest)
> New hires in Nov. 2021: 5% of all jobs – 18th highest (103,000 total hires)
> Quits in Nov. 2021: 3.7% of workforce – 13th highest (76,000 total quits)
> Nov 2021 unemployment: 3% (24th lowest)
> 1-year change in job openings: +41.7% (13th lowest)

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19. Arkansas
> Open-job to job-seeker ratio: 2.9-to-1 (14th highest)
> New hires in Nov. 2021: 4.9% of all jobs – 21st highest (63,000 total hires)
> Quits in Nov. 2021: 3.5% of workforce – 20th highest (45,000 total quits)
> Nov 2021 unemployment: 2.2% (13th lowest)
> 1-year change in job openings: +39.3% (7th lowest)

Source: benedek / iStock Unreleased via Getty Images

18. Tennessee
> Open-job to job-seeker ratio: 2.3-to-1 (22nd highest)
> New hires in Nov. 2021: 5.3% of all jobs – 8th highest (166,000 total hires)
> Quits in Nov. 2021: 3.6% of workforce – 15th highest (112,000 total quits)
> Nov 2021 unemployment: 3.1% (25th lowest)
> 1-year change in job openings: +60% (19th highest)

Source: Susan Vineyard / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

17. Oklahoma
> Open-job to job-seeker ratio: 3.2-to-1 (10th highest)
> New hires in Nov. 2021: 4.9% of all jobs – 21st highest (81,000 total hires)
> Quits in Nov. 2021: 3.5% of workforce – 20th highest (58,000 total quits)
> Nov 2021 unemployment: 1.9% (7th lowest)
> 1-year change in job openings: +37.3% (6th lowest)

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Source: krblokhin / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

16. West Virginia
> Open-job to job-seeker ratio: 2.7-to-1 (17th highest)
> New hires in Nov. 2021: 5.1% of all jobs – 16th highest (35,000 total hires)
> Quits in Nov. 2021: 3.6% of workforce – 15th highest (25,000 total quits)
> Nov 2021 unemployment: 2.6% (19th lowest)
> 1-year change in job openings: +19.6% (the lowest)

Source: Michael Warren / iStock via Getty Images

15. Mississippi
> Open-job to job-seeker ratio: 2.2-to-1 (24th highest)
> New hires in Nov. 2021: 5.3% of all jobs – 8th highest (61,000 total hires)
> Quits in Nov. 2021: 3.8% of workforce – 9th highest (43,000 total quits)
> Nov 2021 unemployment: 3% (24th lowest)
> 1-year change in job openings: +39.7% (8th lowest)

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Source: Ryan Herron / E+ via Getty Images

14. North Carolina
> Open-job to job-seeker ratio: 2-to-1 (24th lowest)
> New hires in Nov. 2021: 5.2% of all jobs – 13th highest (238,000 total hires)
> Quits in Nov. 2021: 4% of workforce – 6th highest (181,000 total quits)
> Nov 2021 unemployment: 3.4% (22nd highest)
> 1-year change in job openings: +62.5% (15th highest)

Source: wanderluster / E+ via Getty Images

13. Indiana
> Open-job to job-seeker ratio: 3.4-to-1 (7th highest)
> New hires in Nov. 2021: 4.6% of all jobs – 21st lowest (144,000 total hires)
> Quits in Nov. 2021: 3.8% of workforce – 9th highest (117,000 total quits)
> Nov 2021 unemployment: 2.1% (10th lowest)
> 1-year change in job openings: +55.8% (22nd highest)

Source: YakobchukOlena / iStock via Getty Images

12. Nebraska
> Open-job to job-seeker ratio: 6-to-1 (the highest)
> New hires in Nov. 2021: 4.4% of all jobs – 17th lowest (45,000 total hires)
> Quits in Nov. 2021: 2.9% of workforce – 13th lowest (30,000 total quits)
> Nov 2021 unemployment: 1.2% (the lowest)
> 1-year change in job openings: +41.2% (12th lowest)

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Source: DenisTangneyJr / E+ via Getty Images

11. Wyoming
> Open-job to job-seeker ratio: 3-to-1 (13th highest)
> New hires in Nov. 2021: 5.5% of all jobs – 7th highest (15,000 total hires)
> Quits in Nov. 2021: 3.6% of workforce – 15th highest (10,000 total quits)
> Nov 2021 unemployment: 2.4% (14th lowest)
> 1-year change in job openings: +40.0% (9th lowest)

Source: Alex Potemkin / E+ via Getty Images

10. South Carolina
> Open-job to job-seeker ratio: 2.4-to-1 (21st highest)
> New hires in Nov. 2021: 5.8% of all jobs – 3rd highest (126,000 total hires)
> Quits in Nov. 2021: 3.7% of workforce – 13th highest (79,000 total quits)
> Nov 2021 unemployment: 3% (24th lowest)
> 1-year change in job openings: +40.5% (10th lowest)

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Source: grandriver / E+ via Getty Images

9. North Dakota
> Open-job to job-seeker ratio: 3.1-to-1 (11th highest)
> New hires in Nov. 2021: 4.7% of all jobs – 25th lowest (20,000 total hires)
> Quits in Nov. 2021: 4.3% of workforce – 4th highest (18,000 total quits)
> Nov 2021 unemployment: 2.5% (15th lowest)
> 1-year change in job openings: +63.2% (14th highest)

Source: FOTOGRAFIA INC. / E+ via Getty Images

8. Utah
> Open-job to job-seeker ratio: 5.1-to-1 (2nd highest)
> New hires in Nov. 2021: 4.8% of all jobs – 24th highest (78,000 total hires)
> Quits in Nov. 2021: 3.4% of workforce – 23rd highest (55,000 total quits)
> Nov 2021 unemployment: 1.4% (2nd lowest)
> 1-year change in job openings: +60.3% (18th highest)

Source: RyanJLane / E+ via Getty Images

7. Idaho
> Open-job to job-seeker ratio: 3.3-to-1 (9th highest)
> New hires in Nov. 2021: 5.7% of all jobs – 5th highest (45,000 total hires)
> Quits in Nov. 2021: 3.6% of workforce – 15th highest (28,000 total quits)
> Nov 2021 unemployment: 1.9% (7th lowest)
> 1-year change in job openings: +43.9% (14th lowest)

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Source: JerryGrugin / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

6. Kentucky
> Open-job to job-seeker ratio: 2.2-to-1 (23rd highest)
> New hires in Nov. 2021: 5.6% of all jobs – 6th highest (105,000 total hires)
> Quits in Nov. 2021: 4.2% of workforce – 5th highest (79,000 total quits)
> Nov 2021 unemployment: 3% (24th lowest)
> 1-year change in job openings: +45.7% (17th lowest)

Source: stanley45 / iStock via Getty Images

5. Alaska
> Open-job to job-seeker ratio: 1.5-to-1 (14th lowest)
> New hires in Nov. 2021: 6.5% of all jobs – 2nd highest (20,000 total hires)
> Quits in Nov. 2021: 3.9% of workforce – 7th highest (12,000 total quits)
> Nov 2021 unemployment: 5.5% (the highest)
> 1-year change in job openings: +36.4% (4th lowest)

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4. Vermont
> Open-job to job-seeker ratio: 3.8-to-1 (4th highest)
> New hires in Nov. 2021: 4.7% of all jobs – 25th lowest (14,000 total hires)
> Quits in Nov. 2021: 4.4% of workforce – 3rd highest (13,000 total quits)
> Nov 2021 unemployment: 1.9% (7th lowest)
> 1-year change in job openings: +64.3% (13th highest)

Source: haveseen / iStock via Getty Images

3. New Hampshire
> Open-job to job-seeker ratio: 3.7-to-1 (5th highest)
> New hires in Nov. 2021: 5.1% of all jobs – 16th highest (34,000 total hires)
> Quits in Nov. 2021: 4.5% of workforce – the highest (30,000 total quits)
> Nov 2021 unemployment: 2.1% (10th lowest)
> 1-year change in job openings: +67.6% (10th highest)

Source: krblokhin / iStock via Getty Images

2. Georgia
> Open-job to job-seeker ratio: 3.4-to-1 (8th highest)
> New hires in Nov. 2021: 5.3% of all jobs – 8th highest (245,000 total hires)
> Quits in Nov. 2021: 4.5% of workforce – the highest (206,000 total quits)
> Nov 2021 unemployment: 2.2% (13th lowest)
> 1-year change in job openings: +47.5% (21st lowest)

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Source: epicurean / E+ via Getty Images

1. Montana
> Open-job to job-seeker ratio: 4-to-1 (3rd highest)
> New hires in Nov. 2021: 5.8% of all jobs – 3rd highest (28,000 total hires)
> Quits in Nov. 2021: 3.9% of workforce – 7th highest (19,000 total quits)
> Nov 2021 unemployment: 1.9% (7th lowest)
> 1-year change in job openings: +51.9% (25th highest)

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