If you’re considering a job change, you may wonder if moving to a different state makes sense. These are the 10 states with the fastest job growth, based on the compound annual growth rate in jobs over a three-year period, per data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and as calculated by U.S. News and World Report.
Utah is number one in the U.S. for job growth, and also number one for its economy and financial stability. Utah has a population of 3.4 million, and 46.3% of adults are college-educated. It also ranks highly for infrastructure (4th) and education (5th). The median household income is $79,449.
Utah has recently seen high job growth in education and health services, leisure and hospitality, and construction trades.
Idaho ranks second in job growth, and second for its economy and fiscal stability. Among its population of nearly 2 million people, 40.8% of adults are college-educated. The median household income is $66,474, slightly below the national average of $69,717.
Long known for mining and agriculture, Idaho is now seeing a boom in jobs in other industries. Jobs in the information sector, construction trades, and transportation and warehousing are expected to grow, along with healthcare jobs. An influx of new residents is driving the increase in construction, and healthcare jobs are on the rise due to the aging of the population.
While Arizona ranks third for job growth, and fifth for its economy, it comes it at number 34 for fiscal stability. The population is at 7.4 million, and 41.8% of adults are college-educated. The median household income is $69,056, slightly lower than the national average.
Education and health services, construction, and leisure and hospitality jobs are expected to grow the most in Arizona, pointing to the influx of new residents, especially retirees. Professional and business services, financial activities, and manufacturing jobs are also expected to increase.
Montana ranks fourth for job growth, sixth for its economy, and 22nd for fiscal stability. The state’s population is 1.1 million, and 43.9% of adults are college-educated. The median household income is $63,249, lower than the national average by about 10%.
Job growth in Montana is expected to be highest in the healthcare sector, construction trades, accommodation and food service, and professional and technical services. Like many top states for job growth, these gains are being driven by an increase in, and the aging of, the state’s population.
Florida is the fifth-best state for job growth. It ranks number one for education and seventh for its economy, but just 46th for opportunity. The population is 22.2 million, and 43.2% of adults are college-educated. The median household income is $63,062, nearly 10% lower than the national average, and the cost-of-living index is 101.4, slightly higher than the national average of 100.
Florida has a large population of retirees, so many of the fastest-growing jobs are in the healthcare sector. Nurse practitioners, physician assistants, physical therapist assistants, and home health aides top the list.
The Lone Star state ranks sixth for job growth and eighth for its economy. 40.6% of Texans are college-educated, and the state has a population of just over 30 million. While job growth is strong, overall opportunity is not, coming in at 47th among the 50 states. Equality (47th) and economic opportunity (41st) bring the opportunity score down. The overall rank for Texas is 35th. The median household income in Texas is $66,963, below the national average. The poverty rate is 14.2%, higher than the national average of 12.8%.
Much of the Texas economy has been focused on oil and gas recently, but those are no longer the fastest-growing sectors for jobs in the state. Home health aide and personal care aide jobs are growing, as are those in the renewable energy sector, such as wind turbine service technicians and non-oil and gas drilling, and healthcare jobs like nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and marriage and family therapists.
7. North Carolina
North Carolina is ranked seventh for job growth, 14th for its economy and 17th overall. This state has just over 10 million people, and 45% of adults are college-educated. North Carolina has a lower-than-average median household income, at $61,972, and a lower cost of living index of 93.8.
North Carolina has a large concentration of technology firms in the Raleigh-Durham area, so web developers and information security analysts are in demand. Other fast-growing occupations in North Carolina include those in the alternative energy sector, such as solar photovoltaic installers and wind turbine service technicians, health care workers like nurse practitioners and epidemiologists, and statisticians and data scientists.
Oregon came in at the number eight spot for the most job growth, and the state is ranked 23rd overall. A little over 4 million people call Oregon home, and 45.3% of adults in the state are college-educated. The median household income is $71,562, which is higher than the national average, although the cost of living is also slightly higher at 103 compared to the national average of 100.
Job growth in Oregon is spread over a number of sectors, with leisure and hospitality leading the way as it continues to rebound from the pandemic. Other industries that are expected to grow include health care, which is already one of the largest sectors in the state, as well as information, construction, and professional and business services.
9. South Dakota
South Dakota ranks ninth in job growth, third in fiscal stability and 12th overall. The state has a population of about 900,000, and 43.7% of adults are college-educated. The median household income is $66,143, slightly less than the national average, but the cost-of-living index is just 90.1. In fact, South Dakota ranks eighth out of the 50 states for affordability.
Jobs that are expected to see the fastest growth in the next decade in South Dakota include:
- Wind turbine service technicians.
- Nurse practitioners and physician assistants.
- Information security analysts and software developers.
- Physical and occupational therapy assistants.
Alaska ranks tenth for job growth but is near the bottom of the list overall at 49. The population of Alaska is about 750,000, and 41.1% of adults are college-educated. The cost-of-living index is 104.4, quite a bit higher than the national baseline of 100, but the median household income is also higher than average at $77,845.
Fast-growing occupations in Alaska include leisure and hospitality jobs like travel agents and concierges, oil and gas workers like derrick operators and extraction workers, and farm and agricultural workers.
Job growth is just one factor to consider if you’re considering a move, but it is important. Consider all the factors before you relocate, like the cost of living and quality of life. That will help you make the best choice for your future.
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