Best States for Job Growth, From Michigan to Massachusetts to New York

With job creation shaping up to be one of the core issues of the 2012 presidential race, Newsweek/Daily Beast finds the boom states for business.

AP Photo

AP Photo

With job creation shaping up to be one of the core issues of the 2012 presidential race, Newsweek/Daily Beast finds the boom states for business.

With 777 New York City education workers facing layoffs, 1,100 state employees in Alabama slated to lose their jobs, and 56 rookie troopers getting the ax in Connecticut, it’s clear that unemployment is still on the minds of millions, and job creation will only become a larger talking point in the political sphere.

The national unemployment rate has hovered roughly between 9 and 10 percent for the better part of two years, but the regional unemployment picture is more complex. In the middle of the country unemployment is relatively low, with North Dakota leading the nation at 3.3 percent unemployment, while Nevada faces 12.9 percent unemployment, the highest. It’s clear from the data that some states are experiencing job growth despite the overall economic downturn. With another stimulus push expected from the president after Labor Day, The Daily Beast decided to highlight the states that have shown recent gains in job creation.

To find the 20 best states in America for job growth we considered three factors. First, a new poll and index from Gallup, which asked more than 100,000 employed people whether their companies are expanding or contracting, and provides an index score from the difference between the two; second, the change in seasonally adjusted unemployment rates, from the annual average for 2010 to the annual average to date, with data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics; finally, each state’s 2010 average annual income, also with BLS data. Using z-scores (a measure of each state’s performance relative to the mean), each factor was equally weighted. The first two data sets examine opinions on job creation and raw unemployment numbers, while the third takes into account how well, in general, jobs in each state tend to pay.

The result is a ranking of the states where, despite the recession, job growth is actually happening.

Research by Clark Merrefield

Paul Sancya / AP Photo

1. Michigan

Employers with expanding workforces: 32%

Gallup job-creation score: 14

Average annual income: $44,438

Unemployment change, 2010 to 2011: -1.99%

AP Photo

2. Indiana

Employers with expanding workforces: 32%

Gallup job-creation score: 16

Average annual income: $39,258

Unemployment change, 2010 to 2011: -1.65%

Steven Senne / AP Photo

3. Massachusetts

Employers with expanding workforces: 31%

Gallup job-creation score: 15

Average annual income: $57,739

Unemployment change, 2010 to 2011: -0.61%

Carolyn Kaster / AP Photo

4. Virginia

Employers with expanding workforces: 34%

Gallup job-creation score: 17

Average annual income: $49,650

Unemployment change, 2010 to 2011: -0.71%

AP Photo

5. Minnesota

Employers with expanding workforces: 32%

Gallup job-creation score: 16

Average annual income: $46,788

Unemployment change, 2010 to 2011: -0.57%

AP Photo

6. Oklahoma

Employers with expanding workforces: 34%

Gallup job-creation score: 21

Average annual income: $38,250

Unemployment change, 2010 to 2011: -1.2%

Jeffrey Collins / AP Photo

7. South Carolina

Employers with expanding workforces: 37%

Gallup job-creation score: 20

Average annual income: $37,556

Unemployment change, 2010 to 2011: -0.90%

Amy Sussman / Corbis

8. Pennsylvania

Employers with expanding workforces: 32%

Gallup job-creation score: 15

Average annual income: $45,734

Unemployment change, 2010 to 2011: -0.88%

Amy Sancetta / AP Photo

9. Ohio

Employers with expanding workforces: 33%

Gallup job-creation score: 16

Average annual income: $41,783

Unemployment change, 2010 to 2011: -1.16%

Matt York / AP Photo

10. Arizona

Employers with expanding workforces: 32%

Gallup job-creation score: 14

Average annual income: $43,297

Unemployment change, 2010 to 2011: -0.54%

AP Photo

11. Wyoming

Employers with expanding workforces: 27%

Gallup job-creation score: 14

Average annual income: $41,965

Unemployment change, 2010 to 2011: -0.91%

Susan Walsh / AP Photo

12. District of Columbia

Employers with expanding workforces: 41%

Gallup job-creation score: 27

Average annual income: $80,190

Unemployment change, 2010 to 2011: -0.01%

J. Scott Applewhite / AP Photo

13. Wisconsin

Employers with expanding workforces: 31%

Gallup job-creation score: 14

Average annual income: $39,945

Unemployment change, 2010 to 2011: -0.85%

Mike Gullett / AP Photo

14. Missouri

Employers with expanding workforces: 30%

Gallup job-creation score: 13

Average annual income: $40,685

Unemployment change, 2010 to 2011: -0.53%

M. Spencer Green / AP Photo

15. Illinois

Employers with expanding workforces: 30%

Gallup job-creation score: 11

Average annual income: $49,498

Unemployment change, 2010 to 2011: -1.26%

Swoan Parker / AP Photo

16. New York

Employers with expanding workforces: 29%

Gallup job-creation score: 8

Average annual income: $60,304

Unemployment change, 2010 to 2011: -0.53%

Toby Talbot / AP Photo

17. Vermont

Employers with expanding workforces: 22%

Gallup job-creation score: 10

Average annual income: $39,442

Unemployment change, 2010 to 2011: -0.69%

AP Photo

18. Alaska

Employers with expanding workforces: 35%

Gallup job-creation score: 22

Average annual income: $48,215

Unemployment change, 2010 to 2011: -0.49%

James MacPherson / AP Photo

19. North Dakota

Employers with expanding workforces: 39%

Gallup job-creation score: 32

Average annual income: $38,128

Unemployment change, 2010 to 2011: -0.50%

Skip Peterson / AP Photo

20. Delaware

Employers with expanding workforces: 37%

Gallup job-creation score: 20

Average annual income: $48,716

Unemployment change, 2010 to 2011: -0.23%