Jobs Are Plentiful Across the Nation

10 States Hit Highest Job Openings Rates in Their History

There are 11.3 million job openings nationwide, and the U.S. labor market is tighter than ever, according to the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey report released last week. Yesterday’s state-level report provides greater insight into exactly where those job openings are concentrated and where businesses are facing the steepest hiring challenges. 

For the first time on record, job openings exceed the number of unemployed people in every state. California, with 0.96 unemployed people per opening, has the “slackest” labor market nationwide. Historically, there have been 2.4 unemployed people per opening nationwide, so the California job market is still unusually tight. 

1. Maine and New Hampshire have the highest concentration of job opportunities across the nation.

  • In January, with an 8.8% job openings rate, Maine and New Hampshire were punching above their weight when it came to generating opportunity. They recorded the highest job openings rates in the nation—2.8% percentage points higher than the national average of 7.0%.
  • Jobs are plentiful across the nation. Including Maine and New Hampshire, ten states hit their highest rate of job openings in their history: Connecticut (6.7%), Delaware (7.9%), Illinois (7.6%), Minnesota (8.1%), Nebraska (7.8%), New Mexico (7.7%), Pennsylvania (8.3%), and Tennessee (7.6%).
  • The need for drivers, teachers, and retail workers is particularly acute in those states, and continues to rise.

2. Nebraska and Utah have the tightest job markets in the country.

  • Businesses in Nebraska and Utah are facing the toughest odds when it comes to finding candidates. There are currently 3.6 job openings per unemployed person in Nebraska and 3.5 in Utah, making it especially challenging for companies to fill vacancies.
  • Labor force participation is slowly recovering, but many people remain reluctant to reenter the workforce due to concern about workplace health and safety and childcare challenges, among other factors.

3. Despite hiring challenges, employment levels have fully recovered in 19 states. 

  • Utah’s labor market recovery is well ahead of the curve. 4% more people are employed in the state now than before the pandemic. It is among 19 states which have recovered all jobs lost at the start of the pandemic.
  • New York and Vermont are lagging behind due to a slow recovery in the leisure and hospitality industry. However, downtown businesses in both states are likely to see business pick up as workers return to offices. 
  • On the other hand, labor force participation is down in almost every state. Two years into the pandemic, there are only four states (Delaware, Alaska, Oregon, and Wisconsin) where labor force participation has recovered. The talent shortage will only deepen unless the labor force participation recovery picks up soon.