At the national level, the unemployment rate hovers at a 17-year low of 4.1%, as the economy continues to add hundreds of thousands of jobs each month. But for some states, the job market recovery has remained rather lackluster.
In seven states, the number of jobs being filled still lags behind the levels set in 2007 before the Great Recession, according to a recent report from Emsi, the labor market analysis division of jobs website CareerBuilder.
Of those states, Alabama is the worst off, with 62,637 fewer jobs in 2017 relative to 2007 levels, representing a 2% deficit.
Other states that still have ground to make up in terms of their labor market included West Virginia (33,428 fewer jobs), Mississippi (26,666 fewer jobs) and New Mexico (23,422 fewer jobs).
These states were among those that were hardest hit by the recession, and their continued struggles could be in part a reflection of the continued weakness of their economies. Some of the largest cities in Alabama, for instance, has been beleaguered by low levels of job security.
|States that haven’t fully recovered from the Great Recession|
|State||Size of job deficit||Percentage of jobs still lost, per 2007 levels|
West Virginia has been described as being in “an economic death spiral,” thanks to its crumbling coal mining industry.
Brain drain is another factor: Mississippi had the highest rate of out-migration in the South among people under the age of 40 with a college degree.
Meanwhile, the country’s most populous states have rebounded most successfully. Texas had the largest net increase in jobs, with nearly 1.7 million more jobs in 2017 versus 2007, followed by California, New York and Florida.
Other states that had notable increases in the number of jobs include Washington, Colorado and Massachusetts.
Notably, many of these states have particularly vibrant tech industries, which have helped to fuel the demand for jobs in cities like San Francisco, Austin and Seattle.
The Emsi report also analyzed the occupations that have experienced the most workforce growth since the financial crisis. Registered nurses came out on top, followed by waiters and home health aids.