For many, the economic recovery won’t be real until there’s solid job creation every month. Though the pace of hiring picked up in 2011-2012, recent months have been disappointing. June payrolls released July 6 were no different. The economy created 80,000 jobs during the month, below economists’ forecasts. Still, in the 12 months between CNBC.com’s 2011 and 2012 Top States for Business reports, the economy has created 1.8 million jobs — by far the most since the 2006-2007 period.
A third of the new jobs has been concentrated in 10 states. Five states — Alaska, Maine, Mississippi, Rhode Island and Wisconsin — have lost jobs in the 12 months. (Delaware payrolls were flat.)
The list of top 10 job-producing states does not include all of the most populous ones in the nation. In fact, a couple on the list are in the bottom half of population totals. Some on the list are clearly part of a surprising manufacturing rebound, while a couple are benefiting from the robust energy sector. Virtually every state lost jobs in one or more of the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ 11 sectors. (Construction and government were two widespread losers.)
Look ahead to see the top 10 job-generating states as well as which sectors and companies are contributing to the growth.
Posted 11 July 2012
Net Job Creation: 37,000
A key energy-producing state, Oklahoma has more than 1,300 companies in the oil and natural gas sector, including Chesapeake Energy, the nation’s second-largest gas producer. Nevertheless, Oklahoma enjoyed diverse job growth during the period, despite a below-average GDP growth rate. Payrolls shrank in the information, construction and general services categories. It was one of a small group of states to post an increase in government payrolls.
Trade, Transportation, Utilities: 10,200
Professional & Business Services: 7,300
Pictured: an oil worker at an Oklahoma refinery.
Net Job Creation: 38,100
With major Volkswagen and Nissan plants, Tennessee now ranks No. 1 in auto manufacturing, which continues to be a source of new jobs. Tennessee is also the headquarters of FedEx and an Amazon.com distribution center, which added 100 jobs in 2012. With an above-average growth rate, the state posted payroll gains in all but the information and financial activities sectors. Tennessee also had one of the biggest year-over-year increases in government payrolls.
Education & Health Services: 7,300
Professional & Business Services: 6,900
Pictured: Workers at the Nissan assembly plant in Smyrna, Tenn.
Net Job Creation: 43,700
Virginia managed job growth in all but two of the 10 BLS categories — information and construction — despite one of the lowest GDP growth rates. The state benefits from its proximity to the nation’s capital. For instance, there are 1,600 companies listed under the defense category. Northrup Grumman and General Dynamics are headquartered in Virginia, as are many foreign companies, such as Airbus, Mitsubishi, Saab and Volkswagen. Virginia is also home to a large communications and technology sector, including RCN and VeriSign.
Education & Health Services: 12,100
Trade, Transportation, Utilities: 10,200
Financial Activities: 7,900
Pictured: Furniture makers in a Virginia factory.
Net Job Creation: 48,400
Fast-growing companies like AVIBioPharma, Zillow.com and Dendreon, along with old reliables like Amazon, Microsoft and Boeing, mean job growth in a state that had one of the best GDP rates. Boeing, for instance, has been adding jobs in ramping up production of its jet programs in the region. Washington is one of the few states to add construction jobs in the past 12 months. It also registered a large drop in government payrolls.
Trade, Transportation, Utilities: 16,400
Education & Health Services: 10,000
Net Job Creation: 50,100
Michigan’s surprising job growth was matched by a stunningly large drop in its unemployment and one of the fastest-growing state economies. Better days for the Big Three are certainly trickling down to the broader labor market. Ford Motor, for example, started adding thousands of jobs at plants in Michigan and other states. The state added jobs in financial activities category, which includes real estate, but continued to bleed jobs in construction.
Professional & Business Services: 19,400
Education & Health Services: 12,100
Pictured: Auto assembly plant in Detroit.
Net Job Creation: 50,300
Florida’s job growth was evenly concentrated in three areas while traditional economic engines didn’t fare as well. Even as the state showed signs of emerging from a deep real-estate slump, construction payrolls plunged. In addition, the important leisure and hospitality sector showed a small gain. Economic growth was well below the state average. Florida, home to AutoNation, CSX, Darden Restaurants and Jabil Circuits, is currently offering economic incentives to big and small companies looking to add jobs through expansion or new facilities.
Trade, Transportation, Utilities: 25,600
Professional & Business Services: 25,200
Education & Health Services: 20,200
Pictured: Construction workers in Orlando framing for new housing.
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.
Net Job Creation: 135,000
Most of the state’s job creation came from two sectors, offsetting declines in several others (information, construction, government, manufacturing). Despite sub- par overall economic growth, New York was one of several states to benefit from a later-than-usual bounce in service jobs. Payrolls in New York City rose 2.4 percent in the past 12 months, fifth best among the state’s top metro areas. The city has been experiencing a wave of IT startups, such as Foursquare and Tumblr, which have been generating jobs.
Professional & Business Services: 58,500
Education & Health Services: 33,800
Trade, Transportation, Utilities: 21,700
Pictured: Business team looking at the New York City skyline.
Net Job Creation: 211,500
California managed to create jobs in all but two private-sector categories (manufacturing and general services) along with its solid growth rate. Gains in construction and financial activities partly reflect its improving real estate sector. High tech, tourism and international trade are the leading sectors. The state led the nation in job creation in June. Facebook and Zynga both went on hiring binges in the last year.
On the negative side, as might be expected of a cash-strapped state, government payrolls fell by almost 60,000.
Professional & Business Services: 90,800
Education & Health Services: 48,800
Trade, Transportation, Utilities: 42,000
Pictured: An engineer inspects turbine blades at the geothermal power plant, owned and operated by Northern California Power Agency, at The Geysers in California.
Net Job Creation: 237,500
The Texas economy grew at twice the state average, which may explain why the state posted job growth in all but one of the private-sector categories — and that one, information, was almost flat. The big job loser was government; the 50,000-decline in payrolls was second only to California. Texas also led the nation in new mining and logging jobs, reflecting the strong energy sector. Houston — home to ExxonMobil, ConocoPhillips, BakerHughes and Schlumberger, among others — led the state in job creation for the third year in a row.
Trade, Transportation, Utilities: 53,200
Education & Health Services: 50,500
Professional & Business Services: 43,500
Pictured: Construction workers on a skyscraper overlooking the Houston skyline.