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4. New Jersey

Net Job Creation: 50,700

Even though New Jersey was one of a handful of states to have negative GDP in 2011, its economy cranked out jobs just the same. May was the best month in seven years for the state. The state’s white-collar sector was weak, with payrolls down in information and flat in financial activities, partly because of Wall Street layoffs. New Jersey also had one of the largest increases in education and health services.

The state has one of the highest concentrations of S&P 500 companies, including ADP, Honeywell and Merck.

Education & Health Services: 28,000
Trade, Transportation, Utilities: 12,300
Leisure & Hospitality: 9,300

Pictured: Engineers checking factory equipment at a soap manufacturing plant in Hoboken.

Photo: Jeff Greenberg | Peter Arnold | Getty Images