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.

Job Stimulus Not Working: Best States for Jobs 2009

Job Openings continued their year long decline in November.

Only 3 States show job opening increases since January 29 at the beginning of the Obama Administration.  The Best States for Jobs are Indiana, Kentucky and Idaho as they are the only states that have more job openings than at the end of January.  Yet despite these increases, unemployment continues to rise.  Indiana’s unemployment rate has increased this year to 9.8% from 8.2% in January.  Kentucky has increased to 11.2% from 8.7%.  Idaho has seen its unemployment rate increase to 9.0% from 6.5% in January.  Job openings are not keeping up with job losses.

The Worst States for Jobs are many.  47 states have lower job openings posted on careerbuilder.com than in January.

California Jobs
have decreased the most since January with 4,764 fewer openings.  Texas has 3,138 fewer jobs and Illinois Jobs have also decreased by 2,742.

Nationwide,  job openings have dropped 13.01% since January.  There were 204,475 job openings on careerbuilder.com at the end of November 2009 as compared to 235,059 in January.  This is an important indicator for employment direction as job openings precede employment.  Employers are not creating enough new jobs to keep up with the pace of losses.  The US had 15.7 million unemployed people in October 2009 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  Many more job openings must emerge to improve the unemployment rate.

The Wall Street Journal today also ran a piece on upcoming job cuts.  It sees cuts increasing in 2010 as stimulus money is running out on certain construction infrastructure jobs.  Nationwide construction industry unemployment is now a staggering 19.1% and looks to get worse.  See Job Cuts Loom as Stimulus Fades

The stimulus program is showing few signs of progress on the job front.  Expect rising unemployment over the coming months because job openings are weak and the short term bump from the stimulus fades.  Private sector jobs are the key for long term employment improvement.  The List of Job Openings by State follows.

Job Openings by State

State 11/30/09 1/29/09 +/- % Change
1 California 21,091 25,855 -4,764 -18.43%
2 Texas 16,913 20,051 -3,138 -15.65%
3 Florida 13,263 15,174 -1,911 -12.59%
4 New York 11,702 13,057 -1,355 -10.38%
5 Illinois 10,960 13,702 -2,742 -20.01%
6 Pennsylvania 10,222 11,141 -919 -8.25%
7 Ohio 7,694 8,276 -582 -7.03%
8 New Jersey 7,421 8,628 -1,207 -13.99%
9 Virginia 6,385 7,186 -801 -11.15%
10 North Carolina 6,370 6,803 -433 -6.36%
11 Georgia 5,600 5,992 -392 -6.54%
12 Maryland 5,474 6,552 -1,078 -16.45%
13 Michigan 5,419 5,541 -122 -2.20%
14 Massachusetts 5,208 6,168 -960 -15.56%
15 Indiana 5,143 4,731 412 8.71%
16 Arizona 5,014 5,992 -978 -16.32%
17 Tennessee 4,214 4,413 -199 -4.51%
18 Washington 4,187 4,914 -727 -14.79%
19 Missouri 4,154 4,458 -304 -6.82%
20 Connecticut 3,895 4,531 -636 -14.04%
21 Wisconsin 3,736 4,314 -578 -13.40%
22 Minnesota 3,487 4,193 -706 -16.84%
23 Colorado 3,485 4,214 -729 -17.30%
24 Kentucky 3,005 2,763 242 8.76%
25 South Carolina 2,946 3,136 -190 -6.06%
26 Kansas 2,669 3,236 -567 -17.52%
27 Louisiana 2,643 3,494 -851 -24.36%
28 Alabama 2,132 2,567 -435 -16.95%
29 Iowa 2,028 2,499 -471 -18.85%
30 Oregon 1,770 1,832 -62 -3.38%
31 Oklahoma 1,676 2,269 -593 -26.13%
32 Nevada 1,661 1,865 -204 -10.94%
33 Mississippi 1,357 1,548 -191 -12.34%
34 New Mexico 1,242 1,423 -181 -12.72%
35 Utah 1,141 1,236 -95 -7.69%
36 Arkansas 1,121 1,414 -293 -20.72%
37 Nebraska 981 1,230 -249 -20.24%
38 Delaware 889 1,057 -168 -15.89%
39 West Virginia 754 856 -102 -11.92%
40 Idaho 739 665 74 11.13%
41 Hawaii 656 865 -209 -24.16%
42 New Hampshire 593 694 -101 -14.55%
43 Rhode Island 593 707 -114 -16.12%
44 Alaska 509 805 -296 -36.77%
45 Vermont 499 659 -160 -24.28%
46 South Dakota 452 585 -133 -22.74%
47 Maine 424 449 -25 -5.57%
48 Montana 392 508 -116 -22.83%
49 Wyoming 286 373 -87 -23.32%
50 North Dakota 280 438 -158 -36.07%
Entire U.S. 204,475 235,059 -30,584 -13.01%
Source: Careerbuilder.com
www.bestandworststates.com

Best Turkey States

Minnesota is the Best Turkey State in the U.S.  It produces the most turkeys in the country.

The Top Turkey States in the nation are in order:  Minnesota, North Carolina, Missouri, Arkansas and Indiana.

We will consume an estimated 46 million turkeys on Thanksgiving which represents about one fifth of the annual U.S. turkey consumption.  The average annual consumption per capita in the U.S. is 13.8 lbs.

For the third quarter of 2009, U.S. turkey production was 1.42 billion lbs., down 9.7% from a year earlier, according to the most recent Livestock, Dairy, and Poultry Outlook from the Economic Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture.  A slight increase in turkey production is expected in 2010 over 2009.

Where are the Best Tasting Turkeys in the U.S.?

Answer:  At home of course.

Happy Thanksgiving.

States running out of Jobless Money, Taxing Employers More

23 States are now borrowing from the U.S. Government to pay for unemployment benefits. (California has borrowed  $4.5 billion as of mid October 2009, the most in the nation.)

This is only the beginning of the bad news for states and employers.  States will be borrowing more and taxing employers more in 2010. This will impact the willingness of companies to hire in the future.  This is not good news for the job market.

For example, Florida, which has borrowed $465 million as of mid October, this past week increased its unemployment insurance tax on employers for next year quite substantially.  The minimum tax will jump from $8.40 per employee to $100.30 – analmost 12-fold increase – while the maximum will go up from $378 peremployee to $459.  Florida is facing a multitude of issues as it tries to dig itself out of the faltering economy.  The Sun-Sentinel did a great piece this week highlighting how Florida is losing residents, jobs and borrowing $300 million per month to make unemployment payments.  See Shrinking Florida faces tough choices as residents flee, jobs vanish

Arizona is among 33 states that will increase unemployment compensationtaxes next year, according the National Association of State WorkforceAgencies.  See  State tax push makes U.S. firms wary of adding jobs

Arizona recently asked to borrow $600 million in federal funds to keep its jobless payments going.  With its October 2009 unemployment rate of 9.3% Arizona will be needing to raise taxes on employers as well.  It is currently estimated that Arizona will increase its tax 41.8% on employers in January 2010.  See Arizona jobless funds running out

Most states will announce their unemployment tax rates for 2010 before year end and taxes will be increasing.  This is bad news for employers and the outlook for jobs. The Heritage Foundation’s Foundry blog recently posted a good explanation on how these increases will further hurt the job market.  See How Unemployment Taxes and Obama’s Stimulus Are Killing Jobs

The List of States Borrowing To Pay Unemployment Benefits follows.  We added Arizona to the BLS list that was compiled as of October 19, 2009.

Rank State Fed Loan
1 California $4.5 billion
2 Michigan $2.8 billion
3 New York $1.6 billion
4 Ohio $1.4 billion
5 North Carolina $1.3 billion
6 Pennsylvania $1.3 billion
7 Indiana $1.3 billion
8 New Jersey $700 million
9 Texas $697 million
10 Wisconsin $684 million
11 Arizona $600 million
12 Illinois $590 million
13 South Carolina $570 million
14 Kentucky $469 million
15 Florida $465 million
16 Missouri $326 million
17 South Dakota $308 million
18 Minnesota $143 million
19 Arkansas $135 million
20 Rhode Island $104 million
21 Idaho $73 million
22 Alabama $47 million
23 Connecticut $31 million

Source:Bureau of Labor Statistics

Trustworthy States: Best States to Lose Your Wallet

Gallup recently released a poll on Best States to Lose Your Wallet

With unemployment rising and economic stress increasing, the trust we have in our neighbors and community is of increasing concern. We want to live in a Safe States as they are Best States to Live.  The poll asked people if they believed a lost wallet with $200 in would be returned.  Nationwide 70% of people believe that their wallet would be returned with money still in the wallet.  Large States according to Gallup are generally viewed as less trustworthy.  People in the Southern half of the country do not trust their neighbors as much as people in the North. See Gallup’s map below.

The Best States for Neighbor Trust are:

Top 10 States, Trust in Neighbor

The Worst States for Neighbor Trust are:

Bottom 10 States, Trust in Neighbor

People in the South do not trust their neighbors as much as the North according to Gallup. Chart courtesy of Gallup.

U.S. Map: Trust in Neighbor, by State
When picking your place to live consider your neighbors. Safe States are Best States to Retire and are Top States to Live

Taxpayers Leave New York

The Empire Center for New York State Policy released a quality report on Empire State Exodus

The report provides enlightening data on the migration patterns in NY and its implications for policy makers.  It should concern NY policy makers.

We have regularly reported on the negative impact of high income taxes on creating a Best State. See New York Jobs: Will they come back?


According to the Empire Center report, New York experienced the nation’s largest loss of residents to other states—a net domestic migration outflow of over 1.5 million, or 8 percent of its population at the start of the decade.This follows a 1.7 million loss in the 1990’s.  Taxpayers are leaving New York.  High income taxpayers, in particular, are leaving.

The States that benefited from New York’s migration losses were Florida, New Jersey, Connecticut, North Carolina and Pennsylvania.  Florida gained over 314,000 taxpayers from NY representing a staggering $9.1 billion of tax base.  It has no state income tax.  New Jersey gained 167,067 taxpayers and $5.7 billion of tax base. North Carolina gained 82,169 and $1.85 billion. Connecticut gained 51,455 and $2.77 billion. Pennsylvania gained 88,961 and $1.52 billion.  New York has lost over $29 billion in tax base in the 2000’s alone.

Tax policy for states must be established with a view of what other options people have.  People have choices within the US as well as  other countries regarding where to live and be taxed.  People are voting with their feet in NY.  They prefer lower tax rates.  The chart below on New York Net Domestic Migration by Year is from the study.  New York has lost almost 1 million people in the 2000’s to other states.

New York politicians continue to raise taxes and are taxing a shrinking base.  See States are Raising taxes

New York State is in a negative cycle downward.  At some point it might look to draw more people in by lowering its rates.  Unfortunately until it does so, people will keep leaving. The entire listing of taxpayer migration by state to (from) New York is listed below courtesy of the Empire Center for New York State Policy.

Top States for Jobs September 2009

The Bureau of Labor Statistics BLS released the September 2009 List of State Unemployment last week.  23 States saw unemployment rise from August, 19 saw decreases and 8 were unchanged.  The US Unemployment rate for September 2009 was 9.8%.

New York was the Worst State for Jobs in September with a loss of 81,700 jobs.

 

Texas (-44,700), California (-39,300), Wisconsin(-21,700), and Michigan (-21,500) rounded out the 5 Worst States
for
Jobs in September. Michigan continues as the Worst State for Employment with a staggering 15.3%
unemployment rate.
Nevada, Alabama, Oregon and West Virginia are also in the 5 Worst States for Employment.
California is not far behind
as a worst state for jobs. See our post on California Jobs Shrinking


 


 
The Best State for Jobs in September 2009 was Indiana which gained 4,400 jobs. The Best State for Employment
was North Dakota with a 4.2% unemployment rate. Only 3 other states qualified as Best States for Jobs in September.
They were New Mexico (+3,700), Nevada (+2,700), and Utah (+2,500). Go to our lastest
September list of job openings by state
for more on where the job openingsAll states and the District of Columbia recorded statistically significant increases in their jobless rates on a year on year basis.
Michigan had the largest increase +6.4%.  Nevada, 6.0% and Alabama at 5.3% also had the highest increases in the U.S.
North Dakota had the smallest increase at +.9%.  The Year on Year change of Unemployment for all 50 States is below.

 

Rank State Sep-08 Sep-09 Change
1 NORTH DAKOTA 3.3 4.2 0.9
2 NEBRASKA 3.4 4.9 1.5
3 SOUTH DAKOTA 3.2 4.8 1.6
4 ALASKA 6.7 8.4 1.7
5 LOUISIANA 5.6 7.4 1.8
5 MISSISSIPPI 7.4 9.2 1.8
7 ARKANSAS 5.2 7.1 1.9
7 MINNESOTA 5.4 7.3 1.9
7 VERMONT 4.8 6.7 1.9
10 COLORADO 5 7 2
10 MONTANA 4.7 6.7 2
12 KANSAS 4.6 6.9 2.3
13 CONNECTICUT 6 8.4 2.4
14 IOWA 4.2 6.7 2.5
15 MARYLAND 4.6 7.2 2.6
15 VIRGINIA 4.1 6.7 2.6
17 OKLAHOMA 4 6.7 2.7
18 HAWAII 4.4 7.2 2.8
18 UTAH 3.4 6.2 2.8
20 MAINE 5.6 8.5 2.9
21 ARIZONA 6 9.1 3.1
21 DELAWARE 5.2 8.3 3.1
21 NEW YORK 5.8 8.9 3.1
21 TEXAS 5.1 8.2 3.1
25 MISSOURI 6.3 9.5 3.2
25 PENNSYLVANIA 5.6 8.8 3.2
27 NEW HAMPSHIRE 3.9 7.2 3.3
27 NEW MEXICO 4.4 7.7 3.3
27 OHIO 6.8 10.1 3.3
30 IDAHO 5.4 8.8 3.4
31 GEORGIA 6.6 10.1 3.5
31 INDIANA 6.1 9.6 3.5
33 TENNESSEE 6.9 10.5 3.6
33 WISCONSIN 4.7 8.3 3.6
33 WYOMING 3.2 6.8 3.6
36 MASSACHUSETTS 5.6 9.3 3.7
37 ILLINOIS 6.7 10.5 3.8
37 WASHINGTON 5.5 9.3 3.8
39 DC 7.4 11.4 4
39 KENTUCKY 6.9 10.9 4
39 NEW JERSEY 5.8 9.8 4
39 NORTH CAROLINA 6.8 10.8 4
43 SOUTH CAROLINA 7.5 11.6 4.1
44 FLORIDA 6.7 11 4.3
45 CALIFORNIA 7.8 12.2 4.4
46 RHODE ISLAND 8.5 13 4.5
47 WEST VIRGINIA 4.3 8.9 4.6
48 OREGON 6.8 11.5 4.7
49 ALABAMA 5.4 10.7 5.3
50 NEVADA 7.3 13.3 6
51 MICHIGAN 8.9 15.3 6.4