State Policy Network

SPN State Job Report

Since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, state policymakers have wrestled with the great challenge of navigating a public health crisis without devastating local economies and jobs.

Starting with data from October 2020, SPN’s State Job Reports help keep track of how states are performing in job recovery following the pandemic, and details how far each state has to go to reach pre-pandemic employment levels.

The data for SPN’s Job Reports comes from the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics. Note that data will be published as it becomes available. Most months the data from the previous month will be published.

Published State Job Reports:

Page Contents
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  • How States can Help
  • October 2020 Highlights
  • November 2020 Highlights
  • December 2020 Highlights
  • January 2021 Highlights
  • February 2021 Highlights
  • March 2021 Highlights
  • April 2021 Highlights
  • May 2021 Highlights
  • June 2021 Highlights
  • July 2021 Highlights
  • State Job Recovery Totals

State Job Recovery Totals

July 2021: State Job Report

Key takeaways

  • All but three states (Kentucky, Tennessee, and Oklahoma) gained jobs in July.
  • States with reduced restrictions and more open pathways to work have performed better in the recovery than states with stronger restrictions.
  • Leisure and hospitality jobs continue to lag behind, with Idaho still the only state having more jobs in this sector than before the pandemic.

See the full July 2021 State Job Report here.

June 2021: State Job Report

Key Takeaways

  • Florida led the nation in jobs regained in June, followed by California, Texas, North Carolina, and Arizona.
  • Idaho and Utah remain the only states with more jobs than before the pandemic, though some states like Arizona and South Dakota are nearing pre-pandemic employment levels.
  • Leisure and hospitality jobs continue to lag behind, with only Idaho having more jobs than before the pandemic in this sector.

See the full June 2021 State Job Report here.

May 2021: State Job Report

Key Takeaways:

  • The leisure and hospitality sector remains the hardest hit by the pandemic and remains furthest behind on recovery. Only one state (Idaho) has even reached its pre-pandemic employment levels in this sector, while some states, such as Hawaii and New York, remain down by more than 30% of their pre-pandemic levels.
  • The top 10 states for recovery took a less restrictive approach to economic lockdowns and have enacted policies that favor growth. Those states are South Dakota, Montana, Arkansas, Arizona, Tennessee, Nebraska, Texas, and Mississippi.

See the full May 2021 State Job Report here.

April 2021: State Job Report

Key Takeaways:

  • The US economy jobs recovery faltered in April, with only 266,000 jobs gained against expectations of nearly one million, a dramatic underperformance. In addition, the national March jobs number was revised downward from 916,000 to 770,000 jobs.
  • The overall recovery picture remains fairly similar month-over-month. Idaho (+1.6%) and Utah (+1.3%) are the only states to have made a full jobs recovery, with South Dakota (-1.5%) and Montana (-1.7%) close behind. Hawaii (-15.1%) and New York (-9.7%) are the worst states for jobs recovery with Nevada (-9.2%) also far below its January 2020 baseline jobs level.

See the full April 2021 State Job Report here.

March 2021: State Job Report

Key Takeaways:

  • All but one state recovered jobs in March, with Alaska the lone state to lose jobs in the month.
  • Oregon and New Mexico experienced the largest percentage gain in job recovery, followed by Hawaii, Oklahoma, and Iowa.
  • Gaps in the recovery remain, with Utah and Idaho still the only states above pre-pandemic employment levels.

See the full March 2021 State Job Report here.

February 2021: State Job Report

Key Takeaways:

  • Struggling states lead in jobs gained this month, though there's still a long way to go for full recovery.
  • The states that are closest to recovery have enacted the fewest Coronavirus related restrictions.
  • States have an opportunity to leverage federal funds for responsible recovery efforts.

See the full February 2021 State Job Report here.

January 2021: State Job Report

Key Takeaways:

  • There is still a long way to go in complete pre-pandemic job recovery. Only one state (Idaho) had more jobs in January 2021 than January 2020.
  • Cold weather states lead in January job recovery, with the top gains seen in Minnesota, New York, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts.
  • Job pains are concentrated in the leisure and hospitality sectors, with a nationwide net loss of 22.5% of leisure and hospitality jobs.

See the full January 2021 State Job Report here.

December 2020: State Job Report

Key Takeaways:

  • Idaho and Utah became the first two states to recover the jobs they lost during the pandemic recession.
  • Three out of five states gained jobs in December, with most job losses concentrated in a few select states.
  • Overall, the United States lost 140,000 jobs in December, a change from seven months of national recovery.

See the full December State Job Report here.

November 2020: State Job Report

Key Takeaways:

  • Idaho (-0.1%), Utah (-0.3%), Mississippi (-2.2%), Alabama (-2.3%), and Georgia (-2.9%) were closest to recovering the number of jobs they had at the beginning of 2020.
  • Hawaii (-15.4%), New York (-10.2%), Michigan (-9.6%), Massachusetts (-9.3%), and New Hampshire (-9.2%) remained furthest from recovery.

See the full November State Job Report here.

October 2020: State Job Report

Key Takeaways:

  • Several states were still suffering job losses greater than nine percent: New Hampshire (-9.1%), Michigan (-9.4%), Massachusetts (-9.6%), New York (-10.7%), and Hawaii (-17.7%).
  • For a few states, the job losses were less severe—within three percent of the payroll jobs count they had at the beginning of the year: Idaho (-0.8%), Utah (-1.2%), Mississippi (-2.5%), and Alabama (-2.7%).
  • Many other states are close behind in their recoveries, such as Nebraska (-3.2%), Arizona (-3.2%), Georgia (-3.4%), and South Dakota (-3.5%).

See the full October State Job Report here.

Recovery recommendations from the states

Jobs Spotlight: Leisure and Hospitality Jobs
State Policy Network

State Economic Recovery Toolkit
State Policy Network

State COVID stimulus spending recommendations
State Policy Network

An Excess of Regulations Smothers Economic Growth
Caesar Rodney Institute

The Economic Impacts of Universal Education Savings Accounts in Georgia
Georgia Public Policy Foundation

Expanding Regulatory Sandboxes to Fast-Track Innovation
James Madison Institute

Rural broadband expansion needs policymakers to clear the way for private enterprise
John Locke Foundation

Rebuild Nevada by Breaking Down Barriers
Nevada Policy Research Institute

Do The Wealthy Migrate Away From High-Tax States? A Comparison of Adjusted Gross Income Changes in Massachusetts and Florida
Pioneer Institute

Transportation and COVID-19: A State Guide to Policy and Priorities
Reason Foundation, Cato Institute, and Washington Policy Center

Beware the Shadow Budget: Ohio Spends More than Many Think
The Buckeye Institute