Job Openings by State May 2010: Up 7.6% Under Obama

We have updated the Best States for Job Openings.

Since January of 2009 when President Obama took office,  job openings by state as measured on Career Builder  have increased 7.6% to 252,884 from 235,059. The U.S. unemployment rate stood at 9.9% in May of 2010 and 15.3 million people were unemployed.  While the increase is encouraging, job openings must increase much more to make a dent in the high number of unemployed.

Thirty six states have seen increases in job openings under Obama while 14 states have seen decreases.

Of the ten largest states, 9 have shown increases in the number of job openings.  Of these large states, North Carolina  was the Best State for Job Openings on Careerbuilder.  Job openings have increased 17.0% in North Carolina since Obama became President.   Illinois was the only large state to show a decrease in job openings since January of 2009.  Its job openings decreased 4.5%.   California has the most job openings on Careerbuilder yet its unemployment at 12.6% is the second highest in the nation.

The list of best and worst states for job openings follows.  Interestingly, some of the states with low unemployment such as North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming and Vermont  have seen job openings shrink.

Best and Worst States for Job Openings 2010

Becker Blocked: Blow to Unionism

Craig Becker’s nomination to the National Labor Relations Board was blocked by the Senate today.  The vote was 52-33.  Sixty votes were needed to pass his nomination.  This is a blow to the Obama administration and the union movement as Becker was considered very pro union.  Politico today reported that the battle may not be over as Democrats and union leaders will be pressing President Obama to make a recess appointment.  See Senate Stops Craig Becker

Objection to Becker also stems from the opposition to the Employee Free Choice Act which if enacted would make it easier for unions to organize. Many senators are also concerned about the possible elimination of secret personal voting.  If the Obama adminstration is committed to job growth, it might want to reconsider these positions.  We have recently written on this.  See Does Increased Unionism lead to more Unemployment?

Stay tuned the battle is not over.  Just stalled for now.

State Unionism Rankings: Do Highly Unionized States have Higher Unemployment?

Union employment in the U.S. continued to shrink this past year.  Nationwide union participation stands at 12.3% which is a slight decline from 2008.

The BLS 2009 Annual Union Affiliation by Statesurvey was recently published.  It has brought increased attention to the union movement. Union policy will further be in the spotlight this week as the Senate wrestles with the nomination of Craig Becker, a clearly pro-union candidate, to the National Labor Review Board.  See GOP’s Senate Gain Clouds Prospect of Obama’s Labor Board Nominee.  In view of this upcoming debate, we thought it would be helpful to take a deeper look at state unionization and employment.

Let’s take a look at state unionization.

New York is the most unionized state in the nation with 27.2% of its population working for a union.  More than 1 in four workers are represented by a union in New York.  Hawaii at 24.3% is the second most unionized state at 24.3%, followed by Alaska at 23.6%.  Washington, Michigan, and New Jersey are heavily unionized states with about 20% union participation rates.

The least unionized state is North Carolina at 4.4%.  Only one in 23 workers in North Carolina are represented by a union, a sharp difference as compared to New York.  Additional states with low union participation rates are Arkansas at 5.0%, Virginia at 5.4%, South Carolina at 5.4% and Georgia at 5.9%

Twenty seven states had decreased union participation in 2009 as compared with 2008.  States with low union participation rates generally became less so in 2009 and those states with union growth were primarily already highly unionized.  There are 22 states with right to work laws in the U.S.  Right to work laws generally do not require employees to pay fees or join a union even if voted in.

A look at union participation and unemployment shows states with high union participation rates are closely associated with higher unemployment.

The five Worst States for Employment in 2009 were Michigan, Rhode Island, Nevada, California and South Carolina.  All but South Carolina are highly unionized states.  The Worst States for Employment in 2009 generally were highly unionized states.

Worst States for Employment and Union Participation



The Best States for Employment in 2009 were North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Oklahoma and Kansas. All but Iowa have unionparticipation rates below the U.S. average and would be classified asstates with low unionization.  If you are looking for a job, look at states with low unionization.  They tend to have less unemployment. See  Best and Worst States for Jobs: Will Jobs Improve in 2010 for the rankings of all states by employment.  The list of Best States for Employment and Union Participation follows:

Best States for Employment and Union Participation

The list of Unionism by State follows:

Unionism by State

Union membership has been in a long term decline since 1983 when BLS first started measuring it in a consistent way.  Union participation was 20.1% of the working population in 1983.  It is now approximately 40% lower at 12.3%.  For the first time in 2009, the majority of union members now work for the government and not for private, for profit entities.  These state workers are on average paid significantly more than private industry.  Making it easier for government workers to unionize will only push labor costs higher and cost the taxpayers more.  Political leaders should be trying to keep these costs in check. (The average federal worker’s pay is $71,206 as compared to $40,331 in the private sector and is growing above inflation rates) The Obama administration’s labor policy approach creates a conflict with its responsibilities to protect the taxpayer. Increased unionization will increase our cost of government.  If the Obama administration is serious about job creation and deficit control, it may want to reconsider this approach.  Unions and job creation generally do not have a positive correlation.  Watch the news this week as it relates to Craig Becker.  It will have implications for jobs and deficits.

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, 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 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

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
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

Are Business Friendly States Best for Jobs?

Editors Note:  If you are looking for a Best State for Jobs start your search with our latest posts:


Which States had the Best Employment Markets in 2009? Will 2010 Job Market Improve?

Best States for Job Openings September 2009

Best States for Job Openings and Where to find a Job

For the August 2009 list of Best States for Employment see Best and Worst States for Employment

Click on the category Best and Worst States for Jobs on the right navigation for our collection of articles on Jobs.

In our Job Openings post you will see the trends by state in job openings and what states are currently experiencing increased job openings.  We also have published the List of Job Openings by State

******Editor’s Note:  The rest of this post was published in April 2009 Go to  Best and Worst States   for our latest  *********************

The Bureau of Labor Statistics released the March State Unemployment rates this week.   For our August 2009 listing and analysis of Best States for Job Openings click

We now have 8 states with unemployment above 10%.  Michigan is the Worst State for Jobs with an unemployment rate of 12.6%. Oregon is also very bad for jobs with a rate of 12.1%.  California, our most populated state, has an unemployment of 11.2% meaning that 1 out of 9 people are out of work. South Carolina also is a Worst State for Jobs with unemployment of 11.4%.

The  Best State for Jobs in March was North Dakota at 4.2%.  The other Top 5 States for Jobs were Wyoming at 4.5%, Nebraska at 4.6%, South Dakota at 4.9%.  Iowa and Utah were tied for fifth with 5.2% unemployment.

We thought we would take a look this month also at how states that are ranked for small business are doing on the job front.  In theory the better the small business environment the better the job environment.  We used the recently released SBEC report.  See: Best and Worst States for Small Business

The data shows that the Best States for Small Business are not all the Best States for Jobs at this moment.  5 of the top 10 Best States for Small Business, for example, have below average i.e. higher, unemployment. 45th ranked Iowa for example has the 4th best employment in the U.S.

As mentioned in the previous post, the SBEC index is primarily a tax based system and high or lower taxes are not the only reason companies grow and create jobs.  It would appear intuitive over time business friendly states should create more business and jobs. We will continue to watch this during the cycle as the better states may grow first and faster.

Rank State %Unemp  Biz Rank
2 WYOMING 4.5 3
3 NEBRASKA 4.6 40
5 IOWA 5.2 45
5 UTAH 5.2 24
7 LOUISIANA 5.8 26
8 NEW MEXICO 5.9 27
8 OKLAHOMA 5.9 15
10 KANSAS 6.1 33
10 MONTANA 6.1 31
13 ARKANSAS 6.5 23
14 TEXAS 6.7 5
15 VIRGINIA 6.8 16
16 MARYLAND 6.9 35
18 IDAHO 7 41
19 HAWAII 7.1 37
20 VERMONT 7.2 43
21 COLORADO 7.5 8
23 DELAWARE 7.7 21
24 ARIZONA 7.8 17
24 NEW YORK 7.8 46
28 MAINE 8.1 48
29 MINNESOTA 8.2 49
30 NEW JERSEY 8.3 50
31 ALASKA 8.5 7
31 WISCONSIN 8.5 32
33 MISSOURI 8.7 14
34 ALABAMA 9 9
35 ILLINOIS 9.1 18
36 GEORGIA 9.2 19
39 TENNESSEE 9.6 13
40 FLORIDA 9.7 6
40 OHIO 9.7 10
42 DC 9.8 51
42 KENTUCKY 9.8 28
44 INDIANA 10 22
45 NEVADA 10.4 2
46 RHODE ISLAND 10.5 44
48 CALIFORNIA 11.2 47
50 OREGON 12.1 34
51 MICHIGAN 12.6 20