Low Unemployment States That Continue To Perform WellSubmitted by SteveMT on Wed, 02/11/2009 - 23:42
Some encouraging news for a change!
5 Places With Promising Job Prospects
by AnnaMaria Andriotis
Tuesday, February 10, 2009provided bySmartMoney.com
Each month, the unemployment numbers grow more staggering. Since January 2008, more than four million people have lost their jobs, pushing the nation's unemployment rate to 7.6% -- a 16-year high, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
While no state's work force remains unscathed, some are faring better than others. Wyoming and the Dakotas, for example, boast unemployment rates of under 4% (well below the 9.3% that’s plaguing California), according to the BLS's statewide data for December. Meanwhile, certain metro areas in Texas, including Houston and Dallas, actually experienced job growth in 2008.
Wyoming has a 3.4% unemployment rate, the lowest in the country thanks to its heavy exposure to oil and gas exploration as well as coal mining, says Warren Bland, an economic geographer at California State University, Northridge.
President Obama's push for the use of clean-coal technology could also help the state win more jobs in the future, says Ross DeVol, director of regional economics at the Milken Institute.
The Lone Star state isn’t so lonely anymore. This low-tax, low-regulation, low-wage state, attracts plenty of businesses, says Cal State's Bland. (Major employers include AT&T, Dell and ExxonMobil. The job opportunities and low cost of living help keep college students in Texas post-graduation, he says. The state is also home to three metropolitan areas that saw the biggest increase in employment in the country in 2008: Houston, Dallas and San Antonio (in that order). Austin came in fifth. Should the stimulus package pass, expect to see even more jobs in energy and infrastructure, says Milken's DeVol.
Yes, D.C. has a miserable unemployment rate of 8.8%. But when combined with the surrounding cities of Alexandria and Arlington, Va., that rate drops to a much more respectable 4.7% -- the second lowest in the country among large metropolitan areas. Not only that, but D.C. stands to benefit handily from the stimulus plan, which aims to create (or save) one new job for every 25 workers. Government work related to the military, lobbying or think tanks are already in high demand, says Bland. Another hiring bright spot should the stimulus pass? Administrative jobs in the government, says Baker.
Utah's unemployment rate is the fifth lowest in the country at 4.3%. Graduates from its two most popular universities – Brigham Young University and the University of Utah – are launching start-up companies that develop medical devices and software, says DeVol. Some of the state’s largest employers include medical facility operator Intermountain Health Care and computer equipment maker Novell. The state could benefit from the stimulus's planned increase in spending on health care, breeding opportunities for both nurses and those in information techology, says DeVol.
Oklahoma’s employment outlook is a far cry from that of the Dust Bowl era. Known for producing and distributing wheat, corn and cotton, the state reaped some nice profits from its agricultural roots last year, says Bland. It was also helped by its exposure to the oil and natural gas industries. Not only that but the state's capital, Oklahoma City, currently boasts a 4.6% unemployment rate, the lowest of all the larger metropolitan areas. Some of the state’s big employers include Devon Energy, Chesapeake Energy and utility company Oklahoma Gas & Electric, a unit of energy-services provider OGE Energy. The stimulus bill could add an extra jolt to the state's energy sector, which could help create posts for engineers and technicians positions, says DeVol.