Job news – good, bad or indifferent – is always important and no more important that during election season.
While President Obama talked up last week’s news that the nation’s unemployment rate had fallen to 7.8 percent in September, the lowest since he took office in 2009, challenger Mitt Romney brushed off the announcement, saying the nation was “still in the middle of a job crisis.”
No matter what side of the argument you’re on, you have to draw some encouragement from this news: From August 2011 to August 2012, 42 states added nonfarm jobs, nine of them adding more than 50,000 jobs each during that period.
A new bizjournals.com analysis of U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data notes that many states have still not climbed back to their job levels in 2007 before the economy cratered. Still, the job gains are good signs of progress, particularly in where they are taking place.
Here’s the top five in raw numbers:
3. New York
And the top five in percent change:
1.North Dakota (6.75%)
2. Oklahoma (2.9%)
3. Texas (2.45%)
4. Hawaii (2.4%)
5. Indiana (2.3%)
The Texas economy, has of course, been a job generator, even during the brunt of the recession. With its red hot energy sector and growing information technology, life sciences and advanced manufacturing sectors, that Texas added 259,000 jobs over the last year is no surprise.
What is better news is that large states with major economies are also adding jobs. California, at $1.7 trillion, the capo di tutti capi of state GDPs, added nearly 300,000 of them in that one-year span. New York and New Jersey added a combined 171,000 jobs and manufacturing-heavy Heartland states Ohio (98,000), Indiana (65,000) and Michigan (46,000) also gained momentum.
Granted, there is still a long way to go – 4.3 million jobs to be exact – to even get back to 2007 levels, but the addition of 1.8 million jobs over the past year sure feels better than the alternative.
Still looking for some further positive signs? Consider this: The manufacturing sector, not along ago considered as relevant to the U.S. economy’s future as buggy whips and carbon paper, has added 500,000 jobs since 2010 and has grown in 40 states.