New data released this morning from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) showed that there were 7.4 million job openings in April, once again illustrating the strong job market for people looking for work. For more than a year these data have found that there are more job openings than unemployed workers. For the first time, a new experimental series recently produced by the BLS also allows for an analysis of job openings at the State level.
This new data demonstrates that this national trend is also true on a State level. Comparing the number of unemployed people in each State from BLS data to the number of job openings shows that, as of the 4th quarter of 2018 (the most recent data available at the State level), there were more job openings than people looking for work in 44 States and the District of Columbia. Furthermore, in most of these States, the number of available job openings far exceeded the number unemployed – with fewer than 90 unemployed workers per 100 job openings in 40 States and the District of Columbia. The very best States to look for work, in which there were fewer than 60 unemployed workers per 100 job openings, included many of the States in the Midwest and the Great Plains and certain States in New England (See Figure).
Although this is an experimental series that the BLS expects to continue refining, this data represents a valuable new tool for understanding where policies to encourage job training and pull workers off the sidelines may be targeted in order for them to be most effective. Additionally, by providing new details on the geographies of job openings, these new data provide further evidence that the strong economy is benefiting workers throughout the United States.