Top States for Business
Virginia is America's Top State for Business 2021
Daniel Acker | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Top States for Business

The top 10 states in America where you are most likely to land your dream job


The U.S. job market is on fire these days — companies have more openings than there are unemployed workers to fill them. The labor market is considered to be close to or at full employment, with the jobless rate at an 18-year low of 4 percent in June. According to the Labor Department, the number of Americans on jobless rolls is at a 44-year low. But all states are not created equal. According to the most recent figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, two states — Alaska and North Dakota — lost jobs between May of 2017 and May of this year. But other states more than made up for the slack.

Job creation is an important metric in CNBC’s exclusive America’s Top States for Business study. It is one of the ways we gauge our Economy category, along with GDP growth, the housing market, state finances and the number of major corporations headquartered in the state.

When it comes to hiring, in percentage terms these 10 states are getting it done.

10. Oregon

The health-care sector in Oregon has added nearly 25,000 new jobs.
Getty Images

As one of America’s fastest-growing economies, Oregon has a lot of construction going on. That takes people. Of the more than 42,000 jobs created in the Beaver State, some 7,200 were in construction. But some of the biggest growth has been in health care, which state economists attribute to a growing and aging population. The sector has added nearly 25,000 new jobs.

Year-over-year job growth (May): 2.3 percent

2018 Economy rank: 12 (Top States Grade: B+)

Major employers: Precision Castparts, Daimler Trucks North America

9. North Carolina

The Abercrombie & Fitch store at South Park mall in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Chris Keane | Reuters

The Tar Heel state is a magnet for tech talent spun out of its well-known Research Triangle, anchored by North Carolina State University, Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. But with the state’s population growing faster than the national average, North Carolina is seeing some of its biggest job growth in retail trade. Of the nearly 100,000 jobs created last year, about 10 percent were in retail.

Year-over-year job growth (May): 2.3 percent

2018 Economy rank: 6 (Top States Grade: A)

Major employers: Walmart, Wells Fargo

8. West Virginia

 A worker in the coal industry handles coal at a coal prep plant outside the city of Welch, West Virginia. 
Spencer Platt | Getty Images

Things were not going to get much worse for the Mountain State after four years of steady job losses. A decline in coal production has hurt the state's economy hard, with mining employment down 40 percent in just the past six years. West Virginia’s job market rebounded significantly in the past year, adding about 17,000 new jobs, thanks to an uptick in construction as well as rising coal production. But state economists warn that coal production — and job growth — are likely to level off soon.

Year-over-year job growth (May): 2.3 percent

2018 Economy rank: 36 (Top States Grade: C-)

Major employers: MedExpress, WVU Medicine

7. Arizona

Contractors work on the frame of a home under construction at the D.R. Horton Express Homes Magma Ranch housing development in Florence, Arizona.  
Caitlin O'Hara | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Like so many states, Arizona is battling a housing shortage, and that takes construction workers. Employment in the sector is up 9 percent — accounting for around 13,000 of the nearly 70,000 jobs added in the past year. This, as health care — the longtime driver of job growth in the Grand Canyon State — levels off following years of explosive growth. While economists predict continued hiring as the population grows and ages, job growth in the sector now trails the national average for the first time in four years, according to the Arizona Office of Economic Opportunity.

Year-over-year job growth (May): 2.5 percent

2018 Economy rank: 10 (Top States Grade: A-)

Major employers: Banner Health, Walmart

6. Colorado

Pedestrians walk through the village at a Vail Resorts Inc. location in Vail, Colorado.
Daniel Brenner | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Never mind that the Centennial State is facing historic labor shortages. It is still adding jobs at a steady clip — nearly 73,000 in the last year. Many of those workers appear to be coming from out of state, attracted by the premium wages employers are being forced to pay and undaunted by the high cost of living. Unlike many of its neighbors, Colorado’s major source of job growth was in the service sector, which added more than 15,000 jobs in the past year.

Year-over-year job growth (May): 2.7 percent

2018 Economy rank: 8 (Top States Grade: A-)

Major employers: Lockheed Martin, HealthONE

5. Nevada

A barrier is being added to the Hawaiian Marketplace on the Las Vegas Strip to help protect pedestrians from vehicles.
David Becker | Getty Images

The Silver State is booming, with GDP up by 3.5 percent last year — one of the fastest rates in the nation. The state added more than 37,000 jobs in the past year. Construction employment is leading the way, followed closely by health care, as Nevada takes on the challenges of a growing — and in some areas aging — population.

Year-over-year job growth (May): 2.8 percent

2018 Economy rank: 15 (Top States Grade: B+)

Major employers: Wynn Resorts, MGM Resorts International

3. (tie) Washington

An Amazon Go employee takes inventory at the Amazon Go store in Seattle.
Stephen Brashear | Getty Images

With the fastest-growing economy in the nation — GDP grew by 4.4 percent last year — as well as a ready labor pool with unemployment above the national average, at 4.7 percent in May, the Evergreen State has the perfect ingredients for strong job growth. Indeed, Washington added nearly 96,000 jobs in the last year, with the biggest growth coming in retail. With one of the hottest housing markets in the country in and around Seattle, construction is a major driver as well.

Year-over-year job growth (May): 2.9 percent

2018 Economy rank: 4 (Top States Grade: A+)

Major employers: Boeing, Microsoft

3. (tie) Texas

Workers operate a drilling rig for an EBR Energy LP natural gas well near Columbus, Texas.
Scott Dalton | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Rebounding oil prices are fueling major job growth in the Lone Star State. That’s why the unemployment rate is a low 4.1 percent. In terms of raw numbers, Texas blows away the competition, adding more than 352,000 jobs in the past year. Like much of the nation, Texas saw solid job growth in construction and health care. But the biggest growth came in the mining sector — which includes oil drilling — posting a 13 percent increase in employment over the year.

Year-over-year job growth (May): 2.9 percent

2018 Economy rank: 1 (Top States Grade: A+)

Major employers: H-E-B, Royal Dutch Shell

2. Idaho

The official groundbreaking ceremony for the new research and development building at Chobani in Twin Falls, Idaho.
Pat Sutphin | The Times-News | AP

The Gem State is often a hidden gem in the U.S. economy, but word about Idaho is getting out. Chobani is in the midst of a $20 million expansion of its plant in Twin Falls, which the company says is the largest yogurt plant in the world. The state has added nearly 22,000 jobs in the past year, with big gains in manufacturing and construction.

Year-over-year job growth (May): 3.1 percent

2018 Economy rank: 5 (Top States Grade: A+)

Major employers: Micron Technology, St. Luke’s Health System

1. Utah

Utah added nearly 50,000 jobs last year, spurring a housing boom in  the Beehive State.
George Frey | Bloomberg | Getty Images

The Beehive State’s economy is strong, adding nearly 50,000 jobs in the last year. The biggest percentage gain, 7.5 percent, came in construction. Much of that is in the Wasatch Front in and around Salt Lake City, home to Utah’s booming Silicon Slopes tech community. Not only are companies, like Adobe and , expanding but all of those tech workers need places to live. Especially in demand: million-dollar homes.

Year-over-year job growth (May): 3.4 percent

2018 Economy rank: 2 (tied with Georgia) (Top States Grade: A+)

Major employers: Intermountain Healthcare, Walmart