States Where Job Openings Are Surging

The U.S. is currently grappling with a massive labor shortage. During the pandemic, early retirements surged, parents of school-age children left the workforce en masse, and immigration slowed considerably – resulting in millions of fewer workers than there otherwise would have been. Meanwhile, American workers – primarily in low-wage sectors – continued to quit their jobs in record numbers in search of better opportunities. 

Currently, the labor force participation rate – the share of Americans 16 and older either working or looking for work – stands at 62.2%, a low not seen in the pre-pandemic United States since 1977. This is what it costs to retire comfortably in each state

The national shortage of workers has left employers struggling to fill open positions – forcing some businesses to reduce hours of operation and others to shutter completely. There were 10.9 million job openings nationwide at the end of 2021, a 62% increase from a year earlier – and the problem shows few signs of slowing. In the last month alone, most states reported an uptick in the number of unfilled jobs. 

Using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 24/7 Wall St. identified the states where job openings are surging. States are ranked by the change in the number of open jobs between November 2021 and December 2021, the most recent months of available data.  

Only 14 states had fewer open positions at the end of December compared to the previous month. Meanwhile, in some states, the number of open jobs increased by over 10% over the same period. 

Despite the need for workers, many members of the labor force are unemployed, suggesting a mismatch between either the skills employers are seeking and the labor pool, or the kind of work or benefits job seekers desire and what is available. The national unemployment rate stood at 3.9% at the end of last year. Depending on the state, unemployment ranges from 1.3% to 5.4%. Here is a look at the worst states to look for a job

Click here to see the states with the most new job openings
Click here to read our detailed methodology

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