One Year Of Obama and Stimulus: Job Openings down 5.48% , Unemployment Up to 10%

It has been one year since President Obama took office and announced a stimulus bill that was to improve jobs.  The data suggests that the job market continued to deteriorate this past year.  Unemployment is up to 10% from 7.4%.  Job Openings are down 5.48%

Job Openings, as measured on careerbuilder.com, have not improved from one year ago.  Nationwide, job openings at January 31, 2010 were 5.48% lower than January 29, 2009.  Total job openings stand at 222,189 as compared to 235,059 last year, a decrease of 12,870.  37 States have lower job openings as compared to last year.

 

 

Best and Worst States has been tracking Job Openings by State for the past year and has reported on movements.  For some of our previouslinks see November 2009, Job Stimulus Not Working  , Job Openings September 2009 and last year’s Best and Worst States for Job Openings January 2009.  While the drops early in the year have appeared to stabilize, the level of job openings is not robust enough to suggest significant improvements in employment soon.

The Best State for Job Openings is Indiana as measured by growth.  Indiana had the largest gain in job openings, 887, up 17.4% from a year ago. Best States for Jobs also were Kentucky, Ohio and TennesseeFlorida and Ohio were the best large states for job openings.  They were the only 2 states of the Top Ten Employment States to show increases in openings.  13 States had increases in job openings from a year ago.

The Worst State for Jobs was California.  It has 3,667 less job openings from a year ago, a decrease of 14.18%.  California also has the fourth worst employment rate in the nation.  Unemployment in California is now at 12.4%, up 3.7% from a year ago.  California is struggling on many fronts and an increasing jobless population will not help it turn around.  For more on California see California Jobs Shrinking

Additional Worst States for Jobs  are Texas, Illinois,Massachusetts and Arizona.  They each had large job opening losses and double digit declines in percentage terms.

Another measure of job openings, the Conference Board’s Help Wanted On-Line Data Series is also indicating year over year decreases in job openings. The Conference Board Data for 2009 annual average job openings stands at 3,357,000, 1.1million below the 4,481,000 annual average for 2008.  More importantly their average job opening number for 2009 is 2.4 million below the 2007 average job opening number.  These are not good numbers.  On an encouraging note,the Conference Board reported positive improvement in job openings in New York, Washington, Connecticut, Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, Delaware and New Jersey.

All 50 states saw their unemployment rates increase in 2009.  See Unemployment by State 2009 for the entire 2009 list and unemployment changes from a year ago. Job openings must increase significantly nationwide if unemployment is to improve to acceptable levels. It is going to take some time for this to occur.

 

Job Openings by State January 2010

 

Largest State
California Continues to
Show Shrinking Job Openings


Texas Jobs Not Growing

Florida Shows Small Increase

Illinois Jobs Down 10.64%

37 States Have
Fewer Job Openings

2 of 10 Largest States
Show Small Increase

Indiana Best State for Job Opening Growth

Job Openings Do Not Suggest
Employment Improvements

Best and Worst States to Move To

What states are people moving to?  Economists would say that you can learn a lot from people “voting with their feet.”  They leave states for many reasons:  economic opportunity, lower taxes, weather, cost of living etc.

The 2009 Allied Van Lines 42nd Annual Magnet States Report  is an useful report in understanding where people are moving to.  There are some changes from last year that would suggest the economy has influenced people’s moving decisions.

Texas was the Best State to Move To in 2009.  It had the most net people moves in the US, over three times more than any other state.  It was also the most popular state to move to in 2008.  Arizona and North Carolina, which was ranked 2 in 2008, were also popular states to move to.  They were very close in net moves being separated by only 2 moves according to Allied Van Lines.

According to the annual magnet report, the Best States to Move To in 2009 were Texas, Arizona, North Carolina, Colorado and Florida.

The Worst States to Move To in 2009 were Michigan, Illinois,Pennsylvania, New Jersey and CaliforniaNew York is also an unpopular state to move to.  Both Illinois and New York have now lost population, according to the Allied study, for 33 straight years!!  California lost people in 2009.  Its 12.4% unemployment rate may have had something to do with this exodus.  See also Taxpayers Leave New York  and People Choose Best States to Live with their Feet

It should also be noted that this survey is not a definitive migration study.  Florida, for example according to the Florida Bureau of Economic and Business Research, lost population in 2009 for the first time in 63 years.  This is at odds with the Allied stats.  See

 

Political leaders in states where people are leaving should take note.  When people leave a state, something is not working for them in that state.

Best and Worst States for Jobs: Will jobs improve in 2010?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics released state unemployment for December 2009 today.  Every state in the U.S. saw its unemployment rate rise in 2009.

The Best State for Jobs and Employment in 2009 was North Dakota.  It had the lowest unemployment rate in the nation at 4.4%.  Its unemployment rate increased by 1.1% in 2009.  South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Oklahoma and Kansas were also Top States for Jobs and Employment.

The Worst State for Jobs and Employment in 2009 was Michigan.  Its unemployment ended the year at 14.6%, an increase of 4.4% in 2009.  21 states and D.C. saw their unemployment ranks increase by 3% or more in 2009.  2009 was a very bad year for those seeking employment.  Nevada, Rhode Island, South Carolina, California and D.C. all were Worst States for Jobs and Unemployment in 2009.  They all have unemployment rates of 12% or higher.

Minnesota and North Dakota had the smallest unemployment increases in 2009 with increases of only 0.8%. The Worst States for Unemployment Increases were West Virginia and Nevada which had increases of 4.6% in unemployment.  The list of Best and Worst States for Jobs and Employment is below.  It is presented from best to worst based on year over year changes.  Politically, these are very poor numbers for the Obama administration.  With the large health care bill off the table for now, let’s hope businesses will become a little more willing to hire in 2010.

Best and Worst States for Jobs

Source:  Bureau of Labor Statistics

Health Care Stopped!!! Jobs will be front and center.

The massive health care bill fiasco is over.  Speaker Nancy Pelosi today told the world “In its present form without any changes I don’t think it’s possible to pass the Senate bill in the House.”  Health care as sold by the Democrats is over.  She further commented on next steps with an insightful, “We’re not in a big rush.”

When we posted the results of the first poll showing Scott Brown in the lead  on January 10, the mainstream media still was not ready to get behind the idea of a possible Brown victory in Massachusetts.  It was not until mid-week when some more traditional polling organizations showed similar race tightness that the media explosion took off.  The Massachusetts vote became a national referendum on President Obama and his policies.

While the bill was unpopular with the majority of Americans and swept in Brown, it was also unpopular with many state legislatures and governors.  They viewed it as a major usurpation of states rights. More importantly,  it was filled with unfunded mandates that would put even more pressures on state’s budgets.  Look for the Democrats and Republicans now to quickly change the focus to jobs.  Let’s hope they do no more harm to a tepid recovery.

The Department of Labor reported an increase in jobless claims today.  The 4 week average of jobless claims for week ending January 16, 2010 was 448,250.  Last year the 4 week average was 526,500, a reduction of 78,250 from a year ago.  While there is talk of improvement in the jobs market, the data supporting such a claim is sketchy.  The 14.8% reduction in claims from a year ago, while positive, is still a very high number from historical perspectives.  It is associated with very poor labor environments.  With health care dead, businesses will have one less risk and expense wildcard to deal with.  It will be a while before the job engine gets going.

The BLS will publish year end state unemployment rates for 2009 tomorrow.  Check back for the list of Best States for Jobs in 2009.

Source:  Department of Labor 2010

Best States for Sunshine

Sunshine is an under appreciated dimension when thinking about where to live.  It can improve your health and happiness.  Yet rarely do we hear people say they picked a state for its sunshine.  They think more about weather temperature, jobs, taxes, cost of living etc. Sunny states generally qualify as Best States for Retirement and are Happy States according to recent happiness studies.

The Best States for Sunshine are Arizona and Nevada.  Phoenix and Las Vegas each have 310 sunny days a year or 85% sunshine.

The Top 5 States for Sunshine, in addition to Arizona and Nevada, are California, New Mexico and Hawaii. Florida, the Sunshine State, is ranked 7th of all states.

The Worst State for Sunshine is Alaska with only 41% sunny days.  Anchorage has only 150 days a year of sunshine half of Phoenix and Las Vegas.

The 5 Worst States for Sunshine are Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Vermont and Ohio.  All 5 states have sun less than 50% of the time.
The List of Sunshine for all U.S. States is published below.

Rankings of  Sunshine by State

If you are considering what are the Best States for Weather, study the Best States for Sunshine.  You may just end up with happier choices.

Does Increased Spending on Higher Education lead to Better State University Rankings?

Does Increased Spending on Higher Education lead to Better State University Rankings?

I thought you would find the rankings of state higher education spending and state university rankings useful.  Intuitively one would believe that states that spend more would have better ranked universities. Higher State spending does not mean it is a Best State for Education.  Lower State spending does not mean it is a Worst State for Education.  A closer look is warranted.

Utah spends the most of its state budget on higher education at 15.5%.  Its University of Utah is ranked 126 according to U.S. News 2009 College Ratings. New York spends the least of all states on higher education with only 5.4%  of its budget yet its highest rated public school SUNY-Binghamton is ranked higher than Utah at 80.   North Dakota is a close second in spending at 15.4% and its university’s state ranking in education is Tier III.  Tier III means it is ranked in the 50-75% of all national universities i.e. below average.  7 of the 10 lowest spending states on higher education have higher university rankings than high spending North Dakota.  North Dakota does not get much bang for its buck.

High Spending States on Higher Education and University Rankings


North Carolina is third highest ranked state on higher education spending at 14.2% and has the highest rated public university of the high spending states with a rank of 28.  This appears to be a positive spend to school rank association.  Yet neighboring Georgia with a spend of 7.6% has its Georgia Institute of Technology rated 35.   Georgia Institute of Technology is higher than every high spend state ranking other than North Carolina.

Alaska is the second lowest higher education spending ranked state at 6.1% and appears to get what it pays for. Its school is rated a bottom 25% Tier IV by U.S. News.   Florida is the third lowest state in spend at 6.3% and appears to get very good returns with the University of Florida rated 47, higher than every high spend state other than North Carolina.

States with the lowest spending on higher education
are primarily in the Northeast.  7 of the lowest 10 states are from the Northeast.  They are, in addition to New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Pennsylvania and Maine.  Yet 4 of the states, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Connecticut have higher ranked schools than every high spend state other than North Carolina.

Low Spending States on Higher Education and University Rankings

Source: Tax Foundation

and US News and World Reports

We have reported previously on education spending and test results.  See Does Spending More on Education Work?

and Graduation Rates, SAT Scores and Educational Spending

A simple thesis that more spending on education leads to better results continues to be elusive.  Be wary of political leaders who say that they are managing your education system better by spending more money.  Check the results.