SPN’s State Jobs Report is a monthly tracker that ranks states’ progress in post-pandemic job recovery and identifies policy trends impacting recovery.
By Michael Lucci, Senior Policy Advisor at State Policy Network
No new states reached a full jobs count recovery in May 2022, according to the latest 50-state job recovery ranking in SPN’s State Jobs Report.
The states that continue to show strong recoveries are ones that took a lighter approach on lockdowns during the pandemic and embrace a “less-is-more” approach to economic policies—namely lower taxes and fewer economies regulations.
State Jobs Report: 50-State Rankings for February 2020-May 2022
State Job Recovery Trends as of May 2022
- West Virginia (+1.3%), Alabama (+0.6%), Texas (+0.5%), South Carolina (+0.5%), and Indiana (+0.4%) led May job percentage gains.
- Texas (+72,600), California (+46,100), New York (+32,200), Georgia (+26,900) and Alabama (+13,000) led May job growth in absolute terms.
- South Carolina (+11,300 jobs) and Indiana (+12,000 jobs) solidified their recoveries with large jobs gains in May. However, no new states reached a full jobs count recovery in May.
National Job Recovery Trends as of May 2022
- The US lost 22 million jobs from February 2020-April 2020.
- The US is currently 822,000 jobs below pre-pandemic levels, a 0.5% net decline since February 2020.
- The US jobless rate (3.6%) nearly matches pre-pandemic lows, though total labor participation, 25-54 prime labor force participation, and total employment are down.
Key Takeaways: The Impact of State Policies on Job Recovery
- State recoveries continue to be led by states that that took a lighter approach on lockdowns during the pandemic, and have lower taxes, fewer economic regulations, and a lower cost of living.
- Highly competitive states, such as those in the Sunbelt and Mountain West, made further legislative gains to attract families, firms, and investments in the 2022 legislative session.
- Competition among states will continue to be a key driver of where families and firms relocate and grow.
Related Reading from the States
Unemployment is down, but MN is recovering poorly compared to most states
American Experiment (Minnesota)
Ohio Sees Unemployment Fall Despite Sluggish Job Growth
The Buckeye Institute
Jobs Recovery Slows as Unemployment Rate Declines
Garden State Initiative (New Jersey)
Georgia’s Unemployment Rate Now Stands at a Record Low of 3.0%
Georgia Center for Opportunity
May Jobs Report
John Locke Foundation (North Carolina)
Kansas and 17 Other States Lose Private-Sector Jobs in May
Kansas Policy Institute
8 Illinois Metro Areas Fail to Add Jobs in April, Just 1 Recovers from Pandemic
Illinois Policy Institute
10 Tax Reforms for Growth and Opportunity