Special Report

The Best States to Look for a Job

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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