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N.D. First, Conn. Last in State Job Creation in 2014

N.D. First, Conn. Last in State Job Creation in 2014

Story Highlights

  • North Dakota ranks No. 1 in worker reports of job creation
  • Connecticut ranks last, followed closely by Alaska
  • Job Creation Index inched slightly higher nationally in 2014

PRINCETON, N.J. -- North Dakota maintained its pre-eminent position in Gallup's annual ranking of state job markets in 2014, with employed North Dakota residents providing a strongly upbeat report on hiring conditions where they work -- the most positive of any state. Connecticut finds itself at the other end of the spectrum, as workers there reported the worst hiring climate, although still net positive.

Best and Worst Hiring Climates, 2014 U.S. States

Gallup's Job Creation Index is derived from full- and part-time workers' reports of whether their employer is hiring and expanding the size of its workforce, not making changes, or letting people go and reducing its workforce.

In North Dakota, 48% of workers in 2014 said their employer is hiring and 12% said their employer is letting workers go, resulting in a +36 Job Creation Index score. By contrast, Connecticut's +16 index score reflects 33% of workers saying their employer is hiring and 17% letting go.

The 2014 state-level findings are drawn from 201,254 interviews with employed adults nationwide, conducted throughout the year as part of Gallup Daily tracking. The full results by state are provided in the table at the end of this article.

Energy Producing and Farm States Dominate the Top Tier

Beyond North Dakota, other states where workers are especially likely to report positive net hiring include Texas, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Iowa and South Dakota -- all states that rely on either the energy sector or farming commodities, or both.

Michigan's inclusion among the states with the highest Job Creation Index scores is notable because it represents one of the sharpest turnarounds of any state in the seven years Gallup has measured job creation. Michigan was among the worst-performing states in 2008 and 2009, but with significant improvements in that state's economy, it rose to about average net hiring in 2010, and has ranked among the top-performing states in each of the past two years.

Delaware has followed a similar trajectory, going from one of the lowest-ranking states in 2008 and 2009 to one of the top-ranking in 2013 and 2014. Delaware holds the distinction of being the only state anywhere along the Eastern seaboard to be in the top 10.

Of the 13 states with the best net hiring scores in 2014, most share a border with at least one other state on the list, including North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan, Texas, Oklahoma, Washington and Oregon. Only Utah and Delaware stand alone, geographically.

Connecticut and Rhode Island Consistently Rank Among the Lowest

Connecticut and Rhode Island tie for compiling the worst collective job creation scores since 2008 and are the only states to have ranked in the bottom 10 each year. New Jersey is not far behind, ranking among the lowest states for net hiring in all but one year.

Connecticut's position at the bottom of the list in 2014 highlights that four of the six New England states had among the lowest Job Creation Index scores last year -- the others being Maine, Vermont and Rhode Island. All four also ranked in the bottom 10 in 2013. New Hampshire has occasionally appeared in the bottom tier for job creation, leaving Massachusetts as the sole New England state that has avoided this unwelcome distinction.

Notably, six other low-ranking states last year are geographic pairs: New York and New Jersey, West Virginia and Kentucky, and Mississippi and Alabama -- reinforcing that the jobs climate often reflects regional, not just state-specific, factors. The exceptions to this in 2014 were New Mexico and Alaska, both regionally isolated from other hiring-challenged states.

Job Creation Index by State, 2014

Job Creation Continued Its Gradual Recovery

In 2014, the Job Creation Index averaged +26, up from +20 in 2013, and a significant improvement over the slightly negative net hiring average found in 2009.

Gallup Job Creation Index, Annual Averages, Nationwide

The index was up year-over-year in most states, but particularly in Oklahoma, Oregon and New Hampshire, where it rose nine points each. At the same time, net hiring failed to improve in a handful of states -- North Dakota, Alaska, Hawaii, Delaware, South Dakota, Minnesota, Tennessee and Connecticut -- where the index was basically flat in 2014.

Bottom Line

North Dakota maintained its prized position in 2014 as the state where workers sense the most hiring momentum, no doubt reflecting the many economic benefits it is enjoying from its recent emergence as a major oil producer. Workers in North Dakota failed to grow more positive about hiring in 2014, bucking the national trend, which could reflect concern about the potential impact of low international oil prices on North Dakota's oil boom. Nevertheless, the state retained a comfortable lead on Gallup's Job Creation Index in 2014.

Connecticut has consistently ranked in the bottom tier for job creation, and its position at the very bottom in 2014, along with continued low ratings of other New England states and neighboring New York, suggests that is unlikely to change in 2015.

Importantly, however, all 50 states now have positive net hiring scores, and all but three -- West Virginia, Alaska and New Mexico -- have markedly improved on this measure since these ratings hit their low point in 2009.

Survey Methods

Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted Jan. 2-Dec. 30, 2014, on the Gallup U.S. Daily survey, with a random sample of 201,254 employed adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. For results based on the total sample of national adults, the margin of sampling error is ±1 percentage point at the 95% confidence level.

Margins of error for individual states are no greater than ±6 percentage points, and are ±3 percentage points in most states. The margin of error for the District of Columbia is ±6 percentage points. All reported margins of sampling error include computed design effects for weighting.

Each sample of national adults includes a minimum quota of 50% cellphone respondents and 50% landline respondents, with additional minimum quotas by time zone within region. Landline and cellular telephone numbers are selected using random-digit-dial methods.

Learn more about how Gallup Daily tracking works.

Gallup Job Creation Index by State, 2014

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