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10 States With Ridiculously Low Unemployment—And Why

Monday, August 30, 2010

Provided by the Business Insider:

Every U.S. state experienced job losses during the recent downturn, but thanks to the right mix of industries, natural resources, and skilled workers, some states have a far lower unemployment rate than the 9.5% national average.

Want to crack the jobs problem? Let's start by studying these sources of American strength...

First, a broad look at America's situation

Unemployment Rate: 9.5%
The economy: Agriculture (1.2% of GDP), Industry (21.9% of GDP), Services (76.9% of GDP)
Education: 27.5% of the adult population has a Bachelor's degree or higher.

Now, the Top 10 States For Jobs

1. North Dakota: Powered by agriculture and commodities
Unemployment Rate: 3.6%
Lower Than America's Unemployment Rate By: 5.9%

Major Industries Driving The State's Economy: Agriculture, petroleum, food processing, and tourism dominate the nation's most job-friendly state.
Education: 25.7% of the adult population has a Bachelor's degree or higher. (Lower than average)

2. South Dakota: Gets a big boost from government, but also has services and agriculture
Unemployment Rate: 4.4%
Lower Than America's Unemployment Rate By: 5.1%

Major Industries Driving The State's Economy: The service sector (especially retail, health, and finance firms) dominates South Dakota's economy, although government-related enterprises also form a large chunk of the GDP. Ellsworth Air Force Base is the second-largest single employer here. Agriculture also contributes heavily to the economy, but its influence is waning.
Education: 25.0% of the adult population has a Bachelor's degree or higher. (Lower than average)

3. Nebraska: An agricultural and transport hub, with some diversity as well
Unemployment Rate: 4.7%
Lower Than America's Unemployment Rate By: 4.8%

Major Industries Driving The State's Economy: Another state reliant on its agricultural sector, Nebraska also specializes in freight transport, telecommunications, manufacturing, information technology, and transportation. And, not to mention, it has the nation's third-wealthiest person amidst its GDP rank.
Education: 27.5% of the adult population has a Bachelor's degree or higher. (Average)

4. New Hampshire: Powered by agriculture, tourism, manufacturing, and a highly educated population
Unemployment Rate: 5.8%
Lower Than America's Unemployment Rate By: 3.7%

Major Industries Driving The State's Economy: Another agricultural heavyweight (dairy products, cattle, and apples dominate on the list of products), New Hampshire also produces machinery, electric equipment, rubber, and plastic products. Due to its famous ski slopes, the state is also a tourist hub come winter. New Hampshire also doesn't have a state income or sales tax and boasts one of the nation's highest median salaries.
Education: 32.5% of the adult population has a Bachelor's degree or higher. (Higher than average)

5. Vermont: Driven by agriculture and industries utilizing the state's highly educated population
Unemployment Rate: 6.0%
Lower Than America's Unemployment Rate By: 3.5%

Major Industries Driving The State's Economy: Farming (especially dairy production and logging) is the bread and butter of Vermont's economy, although manufacturing, insurance, tourism, and quarrying are also major players. Vermont's housing is also quite affordable, as the state ranks 17th in mortgage affordability nationwide.
Education: 33.6% of the adult population has a Bachelor's degree or higher. (Higher than average)

6. Hawaii: A tourism magnet with a large population of affluent Americans
Unemployment Rate: 6.3%
Lower Than America's Unemployment Rate By: 3.2%

Major Industries Driving The State's Economy: Tourism dominates this tax-heavy state while food and apparel exports play more minor roles (given the distance of the islands from all other land source). Also, rich folks apparently love to camp out in Hawaii as much as they might like Florida (the state had the highest percentage of millionaires in the general population).
Education: 29.2% of the adult population has a Bachelor's degree or higher. (Higher than average)

7. Kansas: Powered by agriculture, energy, and aerospace
Unemployment Rate: 6.5%
Lower Than America's Unemployment Rate By: 3.0%

Major Industries Driving The State's Economy: Kansas isn't the land of Dorothy anymore, although it is still a major grain producer and retains its agricultural roots. These days, the state is also a major oil and natural gas producer and is also a hub of the aerospace industry.
% of adult population with a Bachelor's degree or more: 28.8% (Higher than average)

8. Wyoming: Riding commodities, tourism, and perhaps its tax policies. Doing well despite low levels of education.
Unemployment Rate: 6.7%
Lower Than America's Unemployment Rate By: 2.8%

Major Industries Driving The State's Economy: Mineral extraction, agriculture, and tourism drive Wyoming's largely rural economy. The tourism industry alone accounts for over $2 billion of the state's annual revenue. The state is also known for its unusual tax policies -- no individual or corporate income tax and only a 4% sales tax on select items.
Education: 23.4% of the adult population has a Bachelor's degree or higher. (Lower than average)

9. Minnesota: A state with manufacturing, raw materials, and high education
Unemployment Rate: 6.8%
Lower Than America's Unemployment Rate By: 2.7%

Major Industries Driving The State's Economy: Again, the theme here is diversity. Minnesota's economy is home to a variety of firms in the finished products, services, and raw materials sectors and 33 of the nation's top 1000 publicly-traded firms have headquarters in the state.
Education: 31.0% of the adult population has a Bachelor's degree or higher. (Higher than average)

10. Iowa: Outperforming with a diverse economy plus agriculture
Unemployment Rate: 6.8%
Lower Than America's Unemployment Rate By: 2.7%

Major Industries Driving The State's Economy: While commonly perceived as an agricultural hub, Iowa actually boasts a surprisingly diverse economy with jobs in the manufacturing, biotech, finance, insurance, and government services -- all of which contribute to a strong hiring market. The S&P gave the state a Triple-A rating in 2009 (only one of nine to hold the position then).
Education: 24.3% of the adult population has a Bachelor's degree or higher. (Lower than average)

 

 

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