California has lost 3.4 million workers since 1990 to other states, an exodus that can be attributed to such factors as recession, high unemployment and a shrinking defense sector. These are the findings of "The Great California Exodus: A Closer Look," a Manhattan Institute report authored by Tom Gray and Robert Scardamalia.
Less than a decade ago, both California and Texas had comparable economies, but in 2007 California's jobless rate began to climb, reaching 12.4 percent in July 2010. Meanwhile, the unemployment rate in Texas stabilized, making it a destination state for Californian job seekers.
The report lists 10 states that have been top destinations between 1990 and 2010, and CNBC.com presents them here. These states are not limited just to those that have seen significant increases in migration from California, but also include those that have received major infusions to its workforce from places like the Deep South and the Northeast.
Also included are Internal Revenue Service figures of state-to-state migration flows from the specific period of 2009 to 2010, with data detailing which states lost the most workers to other states.
Read ahead to see the top states in the Manhattan Institute report, and find out what employment data, industries and companies are located there to make them destination states for jobs.
By Daniel Bukszpan
Posted 16 October 2012
South Carolina had the 10th largest net in-migrations in the U.S. between 1990 and 2010, according to the Manhattan Institute report. The other nine states on the list experienced more in-migration in the 1990s than in the 2000s, but according to U.S. Census Bureau data, South Carolina saw more people arriving during the 2000s, making the state the sole exception.
According to data from the Internal Revenue Service provided by the authors, 111,377 people migrated into South Carolina in the 2009-2010 period. The states that sent the most people there were North Carolina, Georgia and Florida.
In this period, the unemployment rate in South Carolina went down, while it went up in all three of the other states, no doubt making it an attractive destination for those out of work.
153,932 people came to Washington state in the 2009-2010 time span. The unemployment rate in the state actually increased in that period from 9.4 percent to 9.9 percent, but the largest amount of in-migration came from Oregon and California, which had unemployment rates of 10.7 percent and 12.4 percent respectively, giving Washington the more favorable employment climate.
The economy of Washington state is bolstered by the presence of such major employers as Amazon.com, Boeing and Microsoft. It has a booming agricultural sector, and in 2010 its production increased 12 percent to $7.9 billion, according to the Associated Press. Washington has also been the rare example of a state that's seen growth in the construction sector, alongside in manufacturing and education and health services.
Of the 147,455 people who relocated to Colorado from other states, 17,654 came from California. Although the unemployment rate in Colorado increased from 8.1 percent to 8.9 percent during 2009-2010, it had nothing on California's 12.4 percent unemployment rate.
Like Washington, Colorado has a strong agricultural sector, and the presence of NORAD, the U.S. Geological Survey and the U.S. Air Force Academy make the federal government a major employer in the state. It was ranked third in CNBC's
Tennessee was one of only 15 states whose unemployment rate went down in 2009-2010. Of the 141,845 people who came into the state that year, many came from Florida, Georgia and Mississippi, all of whose unemployment rates had increased.
One of Tennessee's major employers is the FedEx Corporation, and the Volkswagen factory and the North American headquarters of Nissan are also located there. Tennessee ranks today in car manufacturing, and it's seen gains in its manufacturing sector, education and health services sector and professional and business services sector.
In the 2009-2010 period, Nevada's unemployment rate rose from 11.6 percent to 13.7 percent. Still, 84,196 people came into the state in 2010, 28,088 from California. "California is still contributing to the population boom of the southwestern U.S. but now seems to do so mainly by sending residents to neighboring states," the report says.
The economy of Nevada is based on tourism more than any other factor, and cities like Lake Tahoe, Reno and, of course, Las Vegas are hubs for people coming to gamble, honeymoon or see live entertainment.
Of the state's 20 largest employers, 10 are hotels, according to the Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation. These include such world-famous destinations as the Bellagio, the MGM Grand Las Vegas and Caesar's Palace.
Between 1990 and 2010, enough people moved to Arizona to make it the fifth largest state for net in-migrations in the country. The majority of these moves took place in the 1990s and declined in the 2000s.
In 2009-2010, Arizona's unemployment rate rose from 9.9 percent to 10.5 percent, but the state received an infusion of 159,212 new people regardless. The Manhattan Institute report describes the migrants to Arizona as "affluent retirees" and "young families looking for economic opportunity."
The pattern of net in-migration to Georgia from 1990 through 2010 is similar to that of Arizona, as the majority of it took place in the 1990s and declined in the 2000s. In the 2009-2010 period, the three largest sender states were Florida, Texas and Alabama.
What the state has going for it is the headquarters of several major employers, such as Home Depot, UPS and Coca-Cola. The state was also the site of a newly-opened Kia plant in West Point, in which the Kia Motors Corporation invested $1 billion. According to the company's press release, the plant would create 7,500 jobs in the region.
The infusion of new residents that North Carolina received in 2009-2010 derived largely from nearby states. The most in-migration came from Florida and South Carolina, both of which had higher rates of unemployment.
However, the state with the second-highest rate of in-migration was Virginia, despite an unemployment rate that held steady at a relatively low 6.9 percent.
People from nearby Virginia and other neighboring states may have moved to North Carolina simply because of the presence of some major players in the banking industry, such as Bank of America, and the many opportunities available in technology, biotechnology and biochemistry in the Research Triangle Park area. The state ranked fourth on CNBC's list.
In the Manhattan Institute's report, Texas benefitted greatly from California's misfortunes. During the months of 2009-2010 alone, The Lone Star state welcomed 439,456 new residents, 48,877 of whom had come from California. Florida and Louisiana followed behind.
According to the report, the typical profile of a Californian moving to Texas in the 1990-2010 period was that of a young person with a family looking for employment. Given the state's job growth, this would have been a good bet. it has been the U.S. leader in the creation of logging and mining jobs, and it has a strong energy sector.
The state that received the most in-migration from others between 1990 and 2010 was Florida. In the 2009-2010 time span, 405,424 people moved to the state, but it is important to note that the largest group to relocate there came from New York. This group of people is likely to have included many retirees, not job seekers, Robert Scardamalia said in an interview.
Whatever the makeup of these people, there is no denying that Florida has become a destination state for jobs. The all-important leisure and hospitality sector has continued to improve, and there has been in the education and health services sector; the professional and business services sector; and the trade, transportation and utilities sector.