Where the jobs are going

Texas leads in employment growth

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) recently released their State Employment and Unemployment Survey for April. The report provides figures on total employment for each of the states plus the District of Columbia. It showed that Florida and Texas lead all states for employment growth by a wide margin.

The BLS also released the state level Job Openings and Labor Turnover (JOLT) report for March. The job openings figure gives an indication of the potential for future employment growth. However, as with the national JOLT report, hiring to fill the job openings at the state level is balanced by people being laid off or quitting their jobs, so employment growth in any given month is a small fraction of the openings available.

Growth in employment is an important factor in driving growth in household formation which in turn drives demand for housing. Therefore, tracking where the employment growth is occurring gives an indication of where demand for housing is likely to persist or grow.

Month-over-month leaders and trailers

The first table lists the 5 states with the highest employment growth in April compared to March. It also lists the monthly job growth as a percentage of total employment. In addition, it lists the number of job openings available in absolute terms and as a percentage of total employment plus job openings.

State Job growth (thousands) Job growth (percent) March Openings Openings %
Florida 45.3 0.46% 543 5.2
Texas 42.6 0.30% 807 5.4
Missouri 16.7 0.55% 159 5.0
Georgia 15.5 0.31% 263 5.0
Michigan 14.8 0.33% 246 5.2

Both Florida and Texas added almost 3 times as many jobs in April as the number 3 state, Missouri. This result is somewhat to be expected since Texas and Florida are numbers 2 and 3 in population. However, California, New York and Pennsylvania, which round out the top 5 in population, do not appear in the top 5 for employment growth in April.

The table shows that the levels of job openings in the top 5 states were close to the same as a percentage of their populations, although they varied greatly in absolute terms.

The next table shows the same data for the 5 states with the lowest jobs growth.

State Job growth (thousands) Job growth (percent) March Openings Opening %
New Jersey -10.9 -0.25 258 5.6
South Dakota -2.6 -0.55 25 5.0
Ohio -2.5 -0.04 253 4.3
Hawaii -1.5 -0.24 28 4.2
Idaho -1.3 -0.15 45 4.9

Both New jersey and Ohio lost total employment despite having a high number of job openings, indicating that many people were leaving or losing their jobs.

Viewing annual growth

The next table lists the top 5 states for year-over-year employment growth along with their rates of job growth for the year.

State Job growth (thousands) Job growth (percent)
Texas 306.0 2.21
Florida 240.5 2.48
California 206.5 1.16
New York 151.1 1.56
Pennsylvania 81.0 1.33

All of the top 5 state by population made the list, indicating that over the long term, population may correlate with job growth. However, California’s population is 26 percent larger than that of Texas while it’s employment growth is one-third less, so the correlation, if any, is loose.

The last table shows the 5 states with the lowest annual employment growth.

State Job growth (thousands) Job growth (percent)
District of Columbia 1.8 0.23
Hawaii 2.1 0.33
Wyoming 3.7 1.27
Oregon 4.7 0.24
Maryland 4.8 0.17

In this list, only Wyoming and the District of Columbia are in the bottom 5 states by population so any correlation between population and long-term employment growth is less apparent. Maryland is the 19th largest state by population while Oregon is the 27th largest, so they are clearly underperforming in employment growth.

The current State Employment and Unemployment Survey is available here. The latest State Job Openings and Labor Turnover Summary is available here.