North Dakotans Continue to Report Best Jobs Situation
by Jeffrey M. Jones, Gallup.com
Posted on 8/8/2012
Workers in North Dakota reported the best hiring situation at their places of employment, with 42% saying their companies are hiring and expanding the size of their workforces versus 8% letting workers go and reducing the size of the workforce. The resulting Job Creation Index score of 34 is seven points better than that of any other state. Maine and Oregon have the lowest scores.
The data are based on Gallup Daily tracking interviews conducted with more than 100,000 U.S. workers from January through June. Gallup interviewed more than 500 workers in 42 states and more than 1,000 in 33 states during the first half of 2012. Full results for each state appear on page 2.
Nationally, in the first half of 2012, 35% of U.S. workers reported an increase in workforce size, while 17% reported a decrease, for an index score of 18. The national score is up from 13 in 2011 and 7 in 2010.
As in 2011, all states report a more positive than negative hiring situation. That was not the case in 2010 and in particular 2009, when more than half of the states had negative index scores, meaning more employees said their employers were reducing rather than increasing the size of their workforces.
Jobs Boom Continues in North Dakota
North Dakota's position atop the list is not unexpected, given that it ranked first in 2009, 2010, and 2011, and among the best states on the Job Creation Index in 2008. North Dakota's economy is benefiting from increased oil production, as well as strong technology and agriculture sectors. The positive jobs situation there is also creating a demand for construction work to build new homes, roads, and schools.
On a regional basis, job creation appears strongest in the upper Midwest, led by North Dakota, Nebraska, South Dakota, Minnesota, and Iowa, all among the top 10 states. Job creation is weakest in the Northeast, likely due to continuing difficulty in the financial sector, a major source of jobs in New York, Connecticut, and New Jersey, all among the bottom 10 states.
Job creation, based on reports from U.S. workers, appears more positive in 2012 to date than it was in 2011. Nationally, Gallup's Job Creation Index is improved from 2011, and most states' scores are up at least marginally in 2012 to date compared with 2011. Upper Midwestern states, particularly North Dakota, continue to report strong hiring situations.
Still, unemployment remains high, and Americans continue to rank jobs and unemployment as one of the most important problems facing the country.
Gallup will continue to update the national hiring situation in the U.S. throughout the remainder of 2012, and report on the final 2012 state estimates early next year. Given its large lead over every other state halfway through the year, it seems likely North Dakota will hold the top spot for a fourth consecutive year.