Special Report

States With the Most Job Openings

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Since the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of unfilled jobs in the United States has hit multi-decade highs. There were 10.9 million job openings nationwide at the end of 2021, a 62% increase from a year earlier. 

Causes of the historic labor shortage are varied. During the pandemic, early retirements surged, parents of school-age children left the workforce en masse, and immigration slowed considerably – resulting in millions of fewer workers than there otherwise would have been. Additionally, some argue that enhanced unemployment benefits and economic stimulus payments during the pandemic reduced the incentive for many Americans to work. This is what it costs to retire comfortably in each state

Today, the labor force participation rate – the share of Americans 16 and older either working or looking for work – stands at 62.2%, a low not seen in the pre-pandemic United States since 1977. The national labor shortage is putting a strain on businesses across the country, forcing some to reduce hours and others to close completely. 

Using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 24/7 Wall St. identified the states with the most job openings. States are ranked by the number of open jobs as of the end of December 2021, the most recent month of available data. Depending on the state, the share of jobs that remain unfilled ranges from 5.9% up to 9.3%. For context, 6.8% of jobs nationwide are unfilled. 

Despite the need for workers, a small percentage of the labor force remain unemployed, suggesting that among those who are unemployed there is a mismatch between either the skills employers are seeking and the labor pool, or the kind of work or benefits job seekers desire and what is available. The national unemployment rate stood at 3.9% at the end of last year. Depending on the state, unemployment ranges from 1.3% to 5.4%. Here is a look at the worst states to look for a job.

Click here to see the states with the most job openings
Click here to read our detailed methodology

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50. Washington
> Job openings at the end of Dec. 2021: 5.9% of all jobs (219,000 total openings)
> Dec. 2021 unemployment: 3.8%
> 1-year change in job openings: +50.0%
> Labor force size: 3,975,042 people

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49. New York
> Job openings at the end of Dec. 2021: 6.1% of all jobs (588,000 total openings)
> Dec. 2021 unemployment: 5.0%
> 1-year change in job openings: +69.0%
> Labor force size: 9,140,537 people

Source: DenisTangneyJr / iStock via Getty Images

48. Delaware
> Job openings at the end of Dec. 2021: 6.2% of all jobs (30,000 total openings)
> Dec. 2021 unemployment: 4.2%
> 1-year change in job openings: +57.9%
> Labor force size: 491,967 people

Source: Sean Pavone / iStock via Getty Images

47. Arkansas
> Job openings at the end of Dec. 2021: 6.3% of all jobs (87,000 total openings)
> Dec. 2021 unemployment: 2.4%
> 1-year change in job openings: +42.6%
> Labor force size: 1,352,420 people

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46. Illinois
> Job openings at the end of Dec. 2021: 6.3% of all jobs (398,000 total openings)
> Dec. 2021 unemployment: 4.3%
> 1-year change in job openings: +50.8%
> Labor force size: 6,320,577 people

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45. Kansas
> Job openings at the end of Dec. 2021: 6.4% of all jobs (95,000 total openings)
> Dec. 2021 unemployment: 2.2%
> 1-year change in job openings: +39.7%
> Labor force size: 1,487,429 people

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44. Connecticut
> Job openings at the end of Dec. 2021: 6.4% of all jobs (110,000 total openings)
> Dec. 2021 unemployment: 4.4%
> 1-year change in job openings: +64.2%
> Labor force size: 1,832,459 people

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43. Texas
> Job openings at the end of Dec. 2021: 6.4% of all jobs (886,000 total openings)
> Dec. 2021 unemployment: 4.3%
> 1-year change in job openings: +59.9%
> Labor force size: 14,398,693 people

Source: Kruck20 / iStock via Getty Images

42. Alabama
> Job openings at the end of Dec. 2021: 6.5% of all jobs (144,000 total openings)
> Dec. 2021 unemployment: 2.8%
> 1-year change in job openings: +37.1%
> Labor force size: 2,238,778 people

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41. Wisconsin
> Job openings at the end of Dec. 2021: 6.6% of all jobs (204,000 total openings)
> Dec. 2021 unemployment: 2.0%
> 1-year change in job openings: +72.9%
> Labor force size: 3,093,829 people

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40. California
> Job openings at the end of Dec. 2021: 6.6% of all jobs (1,192,000 total openings)
> Dec. 2021 unemployment: 5.0%
> 1-year change in job openings: +80.3%
> Labor force size: 19,065,788 people

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39. Nebraska
> Job openings at the end of Dec. 2021: 6.7% of all jobs (73,000 total openings)
> Dec. 2021 unemployment: 1.3%
> 1-year change in job openings: +49.0%
> Labor force size: 1,025,634 people

Source: Sean Pavone / iStock via Getty Images

38. Oklahoma
> Job openings at the end of Dec. 2021: 6.7% of all jobs (119,000 total openings)
> Dec. 2021 unemployment: 1.8%
> 1-year change in job openings: +46.9%
> Labor force size: 1,862,935 people

Source: Kruck20 / iStock via Getty Images

37. Tennessee
> Job openings at the end of Dec. 2021: 6.7% of all jobs (223,000 total openings)
> Dec. 2021 unemployment: 3.3%
> 1-year change in job openings: +57.0%
> Labor force size: 3,348,942 people

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36. Mississippi
> Job openings at the end of Dec. 2021: 6.8% of all jobs (84,000 total openings)
> Dec. 2021 unemployment: 3.1%
> 1-year change in job openings: +42.4%
> Labor force size: 1,255,553 people

Source: Sean Pavone / iStock via Getty Images

35. Louisiana
> Job openings at the end of Dec. 2021: 6.8% of all jobs (137,000 total openings)
> Dec. 2021 unemployment: 3.7%
> 1-year change in job openings: +55.7%
> Labor force size: 2,057,188 people

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34. Arizona
> Job openings at the end of Dec. 2021: 6.8% of all jobs (218,000 total openings)
> Dec. 2021 unemployment: 2.8%
> 1-year change in job openings: +32.9%
> Labor force size: 3,657,606 people

Source: Sean Pavone / iStock via Getty Images

33. Florida
> Job openings at the end of Dec. 2021: 6.8% of all jobs (650,000 total openings)
> Dec. 2021 unemployment: 3.2%
> 1-year change in job openings: +66.7%
> Labor force size: 10,622,172 people

Source: DenisTangneyJr / iStock via Getty Images

32. South Dakota
> Job openings at the end of Dec. 2021: 6.9% of all jobs (32,000 total openings)
> Dec. 2021 unemployment: 2.4%
> 1-year change in job openings: +39.1%
> Labor force size: 467,186 people

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31. New Mexico
> Job openings at the end of Dec. 2021: 6.9% of all jobs (61,000 total openings)
> Dec. 2021 unemployment: 4.8%
> 1-year change in job openings: +52.5%
> Labor force size: 959,857 people

Source: DenisTangneyJr / E+ via Getty Images

30. Utah
> Job openings at the end of Dec. 2021: 7.0% of all jobs (122,000 total openings)
> Dec. 2021 unemployment: 1.3%
> 1-year change in job openings: +52.5%
> Labor force size: 1,686,575 people

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29. Massachusetts
> Job openings at the end of Dec. 2021: 7.0% of all jobs (269,000 total openings)
> Dec. 2021 unemployment: 3.5%
> 1-year change in job openings: +83.0%
> Labor force size: 3,692,403 people

Source: Sean Pavone / iStock via Getty Images

28. Virginia
> Job openings at the end of Dec. 2021: 7.0% of all jobs (298,000 total openings)
> Dec. 2021 unemployment: 2.7%
> 1-year change in job openings: +44.0%
> Labor force size: 4,252,784 people

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27. Michigan
> Job openings at the end of Dec. 2021: 7.0% of all jobs (321,000 total openings)
> Dec. 2021 unemployment: 4.4%
> 1-year change in job openings: +47.9%
> Labor force size: 4,772,856 people

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26. Ohio
> Job openings at the end of Dec. 2021: 7.0% of all jobs (404,000 total openings)
> Dec. 2021 unemployment: 3.4%
> 1-year change in job openings: +62.2%
> Labor force size: 5,679,536 people

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25. North Dakota
> Job openings at the end of Dec. 2021: 7.1% of all jobs (32,000 total openings)
> Dec. 2021 unemployment: 2.8%
> 1-year change in job openings: +68.4%
> Labor force size: 396,900 people

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24. Nevada
> Job openings at the end of Dec. 2021: 7.1% of all jobs (105,000 total openings)
> Dec. 2021 unemployment: 5.2%
> 1-year change in job openings: +72.1%
> Labor force size: 1,536,416 people

Source: Ultima_Gaina / iStock via Getty Images

23. New Jersey
> Job openings at the end of Dec. 2021: 7.1% of all jobs (309,000 total openings)
> Dec. 2021 unemployment: 4.9%
> 1-year change in job openings: +41.1%
> Labor force size: 4,451,722 people

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22. Iowa
> Job openings at the end of Dec. 2021: 7.2% of all jobs (120,000 total openings)
> Dec. 2021 unemployment: 2.9%
> 1-year change in job openings: +69.0%
> Labor force size: 1,660,698 people

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21. Oregon
> Job openings at the end of Dec. 2021: 7.2% of all jobs (148,000 total openings)
> Dec. 2021 unemployment: 3.6%
> 1-year change in job openings: +60.9%
> Labor force size: 2,166,263 people

Source: Davel5957 / E+ via Getty Images

20. Minnesota
> Job openings at the end of Dec. 2021: 7.2% of all jobs (223,000 total openings)
> Dec. 2021 unemployment: 2.7%
> 1-year change in job openings: +108.4%
> Labor force size: 3,030,129 people

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19. Rhode Island
> Job openings at the end of Dec. 2021: 7.3% of all jobs (38,000 total openings)
> Dec. 2021 unemployment: 3.7%
> 1-year change in job openings: +65.2%
> Labor force size: 551,653 people

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18. West Virginia
> Job openings at the end of Dec. 2021: 7.3% of all jobs (55,000 total openings)
> Dec. 2021 unemployment: 2.9%
> 1-year change in job openings: +19.6%
> Labor force size: 782,740 people

Source: SeanPavonePhoto / iStock via Getty Images

17. Maryland
> Job openings at the end of Dec. 2021: 7.3% of all jobs (214,000 total openings)
> Dec. 2021 unemployment: 4.0%
> 1-year change in job openings: +63.4%
> Labor force size: 3,120,513 people

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16. Missouri
> Job openings at the end of Dec. 2021: 7.3% of all jobs (225,000 total openings)
> Dec. 2021 unemployment: 2.7%
> 1-year change in job openings: +67.9%
> Labor force size: 3,053,267 people

Source: Sean Pavone / iStock via Getty Images

15. Idaho
> Job openings at the end of Dec. 2021: 7.4% of all jobs (63,000 total openings)
> Dec. 2021 unemployment: 1.9%
> 1-year change in job openings: +50.0%
> Labor force size: 907,663 people

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14. Kentucky
> Job openings at the end of Dec. 2021: 7.4% of all jobs (151,000 total openings)
> Dec. 2021 unemployment: 3.4%
> 1-year change in job openings: +65.9%
> Labor force size: 2,014,005 people

Source: SeanPavonePhoto / iStock via Getty Images

13. Maine
> Job openings at the end of Dec. 2021: 7.5% of all jobs (50,000 total openings)
> Dec. 2021 unemployment: 4.0%
> 1-year change in job openings: +72.4%
> Labor force size: 665,686 people

Source: Kruck20 / iStock via Getty Images

12. Colorado
> Job openings at the end of Dec. 2021: 7.6% of all jobs (228,000 total openings)
> Dec. 2021 unemployment: 4.1%
> 1-year change in job openings: +90.0%
> Labor force size: 3,227,853 people

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11. Indiana
> Job openings at the end of Dec. 2021: 7.6% of all jobs (255,000 total openings)
> Dec. 2021 unemployment: 1.3%
> 1-year change in job openings: +75.9%
> Labor force size: 3,277,064 people

Source: Kruck20 / iStock via Getty Images

10. North Carolina
> Job openings at the end of Dec. 2021: 7.6% of all jobs (377,000 total openings)
> Dec. 2021 unemployment: 3.2%
> 1-year change in job openings: +58.4%
> Labor force size: 5,070,354 people

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Source: Sean Pavone / iStock via Getty Images

9. South Carolina
> Job openings at the end of Dec. 2021: 7.8% of all jobs (182,000 total openings)
> Dec. 2021 unemployment: 3.3%
> 1-year change in job openings: +42.2%
> Labor force size: 2,391,893 people

Source: Ultima_Gaina / iStock via Getty Images

8. Pennsylvania
> Job openings at the end of Dec. 2021: 7.9% of all jobs (495,000 total openings)
> Dec. 2021 unemployment: 4.0%
> 1-year change in job openings: +89.7%
> Labor force size: 6,141,644 people

Source: Kruck20 / iStock via Getty Images

7. Georgia
> Job openings at the end of Dec. 2021: 8.0% of all jobs (403,000 total openings)
> Dec. 2021 unemployment: 2.4%
> 1-year change in job openings: +46.5%
> Labor force size: 5,207,912 people

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6. Montana
> Job openings at the end of Dec. 2021: 8.3% of all jobs (44,000 total openings)
> Dec. 2021 unemployment: 1.9%
> 1-year change in job openings: +57.1%
> Labor force size: 541,665 people

Source: okimo / iStock via Getty Images

5. Hawaii
> Job openings at the end of Dec. 2021: 8.5% of all jobs (54,000 total openings)
> Dec. 2021 unemployment: 4.9%
> 1-year change in job openings: +86.2%
> Labor force size: 649,265 people

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4. Vermont
> Job openings at the end of Dec. 2021: 8.6% of all jobs (28,000 total openings)
> Dec. 2021 unemployment: 2.2%
> 1-year change in job openings: +86.7%
> Labor force size: 315,107 people

Source: Sean Pavone / iStock via Getty Images

3. New Hampshire
> Job openings at the end of Dec. 2021: 8.6% of all jobs (63,000 total openings)
> Dec. 2021 unemployment: 2.2%
> 1-year change in job openings: +85.3%
> Labor force size: 743,280 people

Source: DenisTangneyJr / E+ via Getty Images

2. Wyoming
> Job openings at the end of Dec. 2021: 8.9% of all jobs (27,000 total openings)
> Dec. 2021 unemployment: 2.4%
> 1-year change in job openings: +58.8%
> Labor force size: 290,223 people

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1. Alaska
> Job openings at the end of Dec. 2021: 9.3% of all jobs (32,000 total openings)
> Dec. 2021 unemployment: 5.4%
> 1-year change in job openings: +45.5%
> Labor force size: 351,565 people

Methodology  

To determine the States with the most job openings, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. States are ranked by the job openings rate, which is computed by dividing the number of job openings by the sum of employment and job openings and multiplying that quotient by 100. For multiple states with the same job openings rate, ties were broken by the actual number of job openings. 

Job openings are the number of positions – full-time, part-time, seasonal, short-term, or permanent – open on the last business day of December 2021, the most recent month of available data. In order to be counted as open, a job has to start within 30 days of when the employer can find a suitable candidate.

Figures on unemployment and labor force size, which includes Americans either working or actively looking for work, are also from the BLS.

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