Nevada, which still has the country’s second-highest unemployment rate, has cracked the Top 10 states for non-agricultural job growth for the first time since the recession, new research shows.
Energy-rich North Dakota continues to rank first, but 12 states showed job growth of at least 2 percent in 2013, according to the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University. The list is based on U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data.
Overall, the job-growth rate for the U.S. in 2013 showed an increase of 1.7 percent, the same pace as in 2012. The number of jobs added nationwide last year was 2.26 million.
Nevada had the biggest leap up from nineteenth in 2012 to sixth last year, ASU said. It led all states in the rate of new construction job growth, with a gain of nearly 10 percent, according to Lee McPheters, ASU research professor. He called Nevada’s performance “a good rebound.”
Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval said Nevada's 3.4 percent job growth over the last year was the strongest in the nation.
The only state that actually lost jobs was West Virginia, which ranked last. Mining employment there fell by 5 percent, and the state also had losses in construction and manufacturing, McPheters said.
In January, Nevada and Illinois both posted unemployment rates of 8.7 percent, following Rhode Island, which led the country with a 9.2 percent rate. The national average was 6.6 percent.
Idaho, Florida and Washington also hadn’t made the Top 10 for job growth in 2012, but did for 2013.
The bottom 10 states in job growth for 2013 are South Dakota, Virginia, Maine, New Mexico, Vermont, Wyoming, Alaska, Pennsylvania, Arkansas and West Virginia, ASU’s McPheters said.
Top 10 states for nonagricultural job growth in 2013:
1. North Dakota – 3.6 percent
2. Utah –3.2 percent
3. California –3 percent
4. Colorado –2.9 percent (tie)
Texas –2.9 percent
6. Nevada –2.7 percent
7. Idaho – 2.6 percent
8. Florida –2.5 percent
9. Washington –2.2 percent
10. Arizona –2.1 percent