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Top Job-Generating States


For many, the economic recovery won’t be real until there’s solid job creation every month. Though the pace of hiring picked up in 2011-2012, recent months have been disappointing. June payrolls released July 6 were no different. The economy created 80,000 jobs during the month, below economists’ forecasts. Still, in the 12 months between CNBC.com’s 2011 and 2012 Top States for Business reports, the economy has created 1.8 million jobs — by far the most since the 2006-2007 period.

A third of the new jobs has been concentrated in 10 states. Five states — Alaska, Maine, Mississippi, Rhode Island and Wisconsin — have lost jobs in the 12 months. (Delaware payrolls were flat.)

The list of top job-producing states does not include all of the most populous ones in the nation. In fact, a couple on the list are in the bottom half of population totals. Some on the list are clearly part of a surprising manufacturing rebound, while a couple are benefiting from the robust energy sector. Virtually every state lost jobs in one or more of the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ 11 sectors. (Construction and government were two widespread losers.)

Look ahead to see the top job-generating states as well as which sectors and companies are contributing to the growth.


Net Job Creation: 237,500

The Texas economy grew at twice the state average, which may explain why the state posted job growth in all but one of the private-sector categories — and that one, information, was almost flat. The big job loser was government; the 50,000-decline in payrolls was second only to California. Texas also led the nation in new mining and logging jobs, reflecting the strong energy sector. Houston — home to ExxonMobil, ConocoPhillips, BakerHughes and Schlumberger, among others — led the state in job creation for the third year in a row.

Trade, Transportation, Utilities: 53,200
Education & Health Services: 50,500
Professional & Business Services: 43,500

2. California

Net Job Creation: 211,500

California managed to create jobs in all but two private-sector categories (manufacturing and general services) along with its solid growth rate. Gains in construction and financial activities partly reflect its improving real estate sector. High tech, tourism and international trade are the leading sectors. The state led the nation in job creation in June. Facebook and Zynga both went on hiring binges in the last year.

On the negative side, as might be expected of a cash-strapped state, government payrolls fell by almost 60,000.

Professional & Business Services: 90,800
Education & Health Services: 48,800
Trade, Transportation, Utilities: 42,000

3. New York

Net Job Creation: 135,000

Most of the state’s job creation came from two sectors, offsetting declines in several others (information, construction, government, manufacturing). Despite sub- par overall economic growth, New York was one of several states to benefit from a later-than-usual bounce in service jobs. Payrolls in New York City rose 2.4 percent in the past 12 months, fifth best among the state’s top metro areas. The city has been experiencing a wave of IT startups, such as Foursquare and Tumblr, which have been generating jobs.

Professional & Business Services: 58,500
Education & Health Services: 33,800
Trade, Transportation, Utilities: 21,700

4. New Jersey

Net Job Creation: 50,700

Even though New Jersey was one of a handful of states to have negative GDP in 2011, its economy cranked out jobs just the same. May was the best month in seven years for the state. The state’s white-collar sector was weak, with payrolls down in information and flat in financial activities, partly because of Wall Street layoffs. New Jersey also had one of the largest increases in education and health services.

The state has one of the highest concentrations of S&P 500 companies, including ADP, Honeywell and Merck.

Education & Health Services: 28,000
Trade, Transportation, Utilities: 12,300
Leisure & Hospitality: 9,300

5. Florida

Net Job Creation: 50,300

Florida’s job growth was evenly concentrated in three areas while traditional economic engines didn’t fare as well. Even as the state showed signs of emerging from a deep real-estate slump, construction payrolls plunged. In addition, the important leisure and hospitality sector showed a small gain. Economic growth was well below the state average. Florida, home to AutoNation, CSX, Darden Restaurants and Jabil Circuits, is currently offering economic incentives to big and small companies looking to add jobs through expansion or new facilities.

Trade, Transportation, Utilities: 25,600
Professional & Business Services: 25,200
Education & Health Services: 20,200

Click here for the full list of America’s Top States for Job Creation.

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