Special Report

The Worst States to Look for a Job

The U.S. is currently in the midst of a historic labor shortage. Recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that there are approximately 4.3 million more open jobs in the United States than there are job seekers. While the disconnect presents an existential challenge for some businesses, it has also granted workers a new level of 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 best paying jobs in America.)

While conditions are generally favorable for workers nationwide, some states are better than others for Americans seeking work. Using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 24/7 Wall St. identified the worst states to look for a job. 

States are ranked by an index comprising three components: the share of workers who were laid off in November 2021; the November 2021 unemployment rate; and the ratio of unfilled jobs to job seekers, that is, open jobs divided by the number of unemployed state residents. November 2021 data used in the index is from the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey report from the BLS and is the most recent available data. 

Despite the mismatch between demand and supply for labor, there are still companies and organizations across the country that have had to make layoffs. Nearly 1.4 million American workers were laid off in November 2021 alone, and layoff rates that month range from 0.7% of the workforce to 1.9%, depending on the state. 

In addition to layoff rates, some states have less favorable ratios of open jobs to job seekers than others. In California, for example, there are only 1.1 jobs per unemployed resident, while in many other states, such as Georgia, Vermont, and Wisconsin, there are more than three open jobs for every unemployed resident. Of course, high unemployment is also indicative of a less favorable job market for job seekers. This state has the highest unemployment in America. 

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

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