States With Most Per Capita Job Gains Since 2010

Published on May 8, 2014

Updated on Nov 3, 2022

Written by Emsi Burning Glass

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For our latest Forbes piece, we delved into the rebounding California labor market to see which industries are fueling the jobs comeback (hint: retail, restaurants, technology, and crop production), and which metros in the state are recovering the fastest.

California gained the most total jobs of all states from 2010 to 2013 and from 2012 to 2013. But it also has the largest population of any state, an estimated 38 million residents. So where does it stand in per-capita job growth?

As we touched on in the article, the Golden State ranked sixth in job gains per 10,000 people in both timeframes (2010-2013 and 2012-2013). Here’s the top 10 since 2010, and later we’ll show the performance of all states and Washington, D.C.

Note: The above map shows percentage job growth from 2010 to 2013 by state (source: EMSI Analyst).

There are a few surprises on this list. We know about North Dakota, the overwhelming No. 1 in per-capita employment growth. D.C. is a densely populated area with a high concentration of professional services (and of course, government) jobs. Utah, ranked No. 3, is a state with a young, fast-growing population, and metros like Provo-Orem, Salt Lake City, and Logan have dynamite job markets. It’s noteworthy, though, that Colorado ranked fifth with 277 new jobs per 10,000 people, and that Michigan and Minnesota were seventh and eighth. Hawaii’s presence at No. 9 is also a revelation.

In the following table, we’ve included the same numbers for every state. The bottom 10-15 states line up pretty closely with the states that have seen the slowest post-recession job recoveries: Arkansas, Mississippi, Maine, Alabama, and New Mexico. Each has grown just 1.1% to 1.6% over the last four years.

Quite a few Northeastern states also populate the bottom tier of the per-capita rankings. In addition to Maine, New Jersey (ranked 44th), Rhode Island (43rd), and Connecticut (39th) have all struggled. Missouri sits just outside the bottom 10, at 41st.

Note that these job figures are just for salaried employees (including military, agriculture, federal government, and jobs at nonprofits/religious organizations). Self-employed workers and other proprietors that EMSI also tracks are not included.

StateJobs Added (2010-2013)% ChangeNew Jobs Per 10,000 PeoplePer Capita RankingNorth Dakota65,46617.0%9401District of Columbia21,3482.9%3372Utah98,5898.1%3363Texas794,2397.4%2994Colorado146,3276.3%2775California904,4966.0%2366Michigan228,5595.9%2337Minnesota122,4964.6%2268Hawaii30,5714.6%2189Arizona140,7805.7%21110Massachusetts133,4284.1%20111Washington139,2404.6%19912Indiana130,0834.6%19713Tennessee126,3804.7%19414Florida368,7855.0%18915tNebraska35,2983.7%18915tIowa58,3783.9%18915tSouth Carolina86,9944.6%18118Ohio205,7604.0%17819tMontana18,0334.1%17819tAlaska13,0343.7%17521Oklahoma67,0204.2%17322South Dakota13,7893.3%16423tNorth Carolina163,1184.0%16423tOregon64,6543.9%16425Nevada44,2323.9%15726tNew York307,1453.6%15726tKentucky68,6443.7%15528Wyoming8,8363.1%15129Georgia149,6743.7%14830Idaho22,7743.6%14031Wisconsin80,1842.9%13932Maryland81,3123.1%13733tVermont8,5912.8%13733tKansas37,7642.7%13035Delaware11,8742.8%12836Illinois161,2062.8%12437Virginia99,8502.6%12138Connecticut42,7922.6%11939Louisiana52,5682.7%11340Missouri59,1772.2%9741Pennsylvania123,3182.2%9642Rhode Island9,2922.0%8943New Hampshire11,6961.9%8844New Jersey74,6091.9%8445West Virginia13,9711.9%7546New Mexico13,0291.6%6147Alabama29,0791.5%6048Maine7,2721.2%5549Mississippi14,7501.3%4950Arkansas13,6741.1%4651United States5,724,1784.3%181Source: EMSI 2014.2 Class of Worker (QCEW Employees, Non-QCEW)

For more on EMSI’s employment data — available at the county, MSA, and ZIP code level — email Josh Wright. Follow EMSI on Twitter (@DesktopEcon) or check us out on LinkedIn and Facebook.