10 States That Added the Most Jobs in the First Half of 2011

Ten states added over 25,000 jobs each in the period from January to June 2011. The list was topped by Texas, which added over 117,000. Among the 10, the total net job addition was 517,000. This number may not seem large, but it is, compared to the 18,000 non-farm payroll additions across the entire U.S. in the month of June.

10. Oklahoma
  • 2011 Job Growth, January - June: 27,900
  • January Unemployment: 6.6 percent (10th lowest)
  • June Unemployment: 5.3 percent (fifth lowest)
  • Net Job Change (January 2008 - December 2010): -59,000 (32nd worst loss)

The oil and natural gas industry is Oklahoma's "number one defining industry," according to Russell Evans, executive director of the Steven C. Agee Economic Research and Policy Institute at Oklahoma City University. Although 13,000 jobs were lost within the industry between October 2008 and 2009, 4,000 jobs have since been added. These are jobs are directly within the sector. According to Oklahoma Energy Resource Board, 300,000 jobs in Oklahoma are either directly or indirectly supported by the oil and gas industry. That is approximately one in every seven workers.

9. Wisconsin
  • 2011 Job Growth, January - June: 26,900
  • January Unemployment: 7.4 percent (14th lowest)
  • June Unemployment: 7.6 percent (18th lowest)
  • Net Job Change (January 2008 - December 2010): -158,700 (17th worst loss)

Wisconsin has steadily added jobs over the past six months, improving by nearly 30,000 workers by June. It was also one of the minority of states not to lose jobs in June. As one of the leading farming states in the country, Wisconsin has benefited from the booming agricultural commodity market, although the biggest industry is actually manufacturing. In response to the jobs added last month, Department of Workforce Development Secretary Scott Baumbach said, "Job seekers and employers alike are reaping the economic benefits of the business-friendly environment that Governor Walker is advancing, and we encourage job seekers to keep pursuing these new employment opportunities."

8. Illinois
  • 2011 Job Growth, January - June: 27,900
  • January Unemployment: 9 percent (23rd highest)
  • June Unemployment: 9.2 percent (18th highest)
  • Net Job Change (January 2008 - December 2010): -371,300 (fifth worst loss)

Although unemployment rose by 0.3 percentage points from May 2011 to June 2011, the total number of jobs in the state has increased over the year. In May 2010 unemployment was at an alarming 10.5 percent. Jobs were since added in the manufacturing, food and finance sectors. During the May 2011 downturn, 1,100 jobs were added in the construction industry and 900 jobs to the manufacturing industry.

7. New Jersey
  • 2011 Job Growth, January - June: 35,100
  • January Unemployment: 9.1 percent (21st highest)
  • June Unemployment: 9.5 percent (13th highest)
  • Net Job Change (January 2008 - December 2010): -249,900 (ninth worst loss)

New Jersey gained more than 35,000 jobs in the first six months of this year after losing nearly a quarter million between the beginning of 2008 and the end of 2010. Most of these jobs came in the beginning of the year, and hiring has dropped off substantially over the course of the year. While the state added jobs in June, the net increase was only 1,700. According to a report in the Asbury Park Press, New Jersey wouldn't recover all of the jobs it lost during the recession until 2018, if it continues to increase at that rate. The article reports that while the state has added jobs, it has been unable to recover at the rate of some other states because of its weakness in manufacturing.

6. Ohio
  • 2011 Job Growth, January - June: 37,300
  • January Unemployment: 9.4 percent (16th highest)
  • June Unemployment: 8.8 percent (21st highest)
  • Net Job Change (January 2008 - December 2010): -395,000 (third worst loss)

Between 2008 and 2010, Ohio lost the third most jobs of any state in the country. This loss was largely due to the massive hit the state's car parts manufacturers, including Goodyear, Eaton and Parker Hannifin, took during the recession. The state's job growth is, in part, tied to the recovery of these companies. According to an AP analysis, Ohio has added 7,600 factory jobs in the past year.

5. Massachusetts
  • 2011 Job Growth, January - June: 39,700
  • January Unemployment: 8.3 percent (tied for 23rd lowest)
  • June Unemployment: 7.6 percent (20th lowest)
  • Net Job Change (January 2008 - December 2010): -103,600 (26th worst loss)

Massachusetts lost more than 100,000 jobs from 2008 to 2011. At the beginning of this year, unemployment was at 8.3 percent. In the past six months, the state has gained nearly 40,000 jobs, and unemployment has dropped to 7.6 percent. According to an article in the Patriot Ledger, most of the growth in the state came in the construction and manufacturing industries, which added a net of 5,000 jobs last month alone. Michael Goodman, a professor at the University of Massachusetts, said: "Our industry mix has allowed us to outperform [the nation, but] we still continue to have major challenges with long-term unemployment, particularly with those sectors that have been hit hard in the recession."

4. New York
  • 2011 Job Growth, January - June: 59,600
  • January Unemployment: 8.3 percent (tied for 23rd lowest)
  • June Unemployment: 8 percent (23rd lowest)
  • Net Job Change (January 2008 - December 2010): -247,000 (10th worst loss)

New York has been experiencing a strong economic recovery across the state after losing almost a quarter of a million jobs between 2008 and 2010. The industries in which the most jobs have been added in the past year have been professional and business services and education and health services. Although Wall Street added 2,600 jobs in the first quarter of 2011, the sector has shed 2,900 positions since, according to the Department of Labor.

3. Florida
  • 2011 Job Growth, January - June: 85,500
  • January Unemployment: 11.9 percent (third highest)
  • June Unemployment: 10.4 percent (seventh highest)
  • Net Job Change (January 2008 - December 2010): -739,000 (second worst loss)

Florida was one of -- if not the hardest-hit state during the subprime mortgage crisis, losing nearly 750,000 jobs between 2008 and 2011. States with a large construction industry were hurt the most, and Florida was has one of the largest in the country. At the beginning of this year, Florida had the third-highest unemployment rate in the country. Now, thanks to a major recovery in construction, it has dropped to seventh highest, and added 85,000 employees to payrolls in the state. According to the Florida Independent, last month was also the first in five years in which Florida had a net gain in manufacturing jobs.

2. California
  • 2011 Job Growth, January - June: 92,300
  • January Unemployment: 12.4 percent (second highest)
  • June Unemployment: 11.8 percent (second highest)
  • Net Job Change (January 2008 - December 2010): -1.18 million (worst loss)

California lost over one million jobs between 2008 and 2010 -- the greatest number of any state in the country. With this in mind, the 92,300 jobs added in the state for the first half of the year are not as impressive as they are at first glance. Regardless, the state is making a slow recovery, driven largely by the technology, energy and medical industries. The state added 28,800 jobs in June alone. These gains largely took place in manufacturing, professional and business services, education and health services, and leisure and hospitality sectors.

1. Texas
  • 2011 Job Growth, January - June: 117,600
  • January Unemployment: 8.3 percent (22nd lowest)
  • June Unemployment: 8.2 percent (25th lowest)
  • Net Job Change (January 2008 - December 2010): -116,900 (24th worst loss)

For a state of its size, it is impressive that Texas only lost 116,900 jobs during the recession. Much smaller states, including Nevada, South Carolina and Oregon, lost more jobs. The combined labor forces of these three states is less than Texas. In the last six months, the Lone Star State has gained back nearly every single one of the jobs that disappeared between the start of 2008 and end of 2010. In June alone, the U.S. had a net gain of 64,900 private and public sector jobs -- nearly half of those came from Texas. The biggest source of growth in the state has been from the energy sector, as oil prices have shot up again and new shale deposits are being exploited. There also has been major growth in natural gas production and refineries. It should be noted, however, that despite this massive increase in jobs, the state unemployment rate has only dropped by a tenth of a percent in the last six months, as legal and illegal immigration to the state has added citizens as fast as it can add positions.

The first common factor among the 10 states is that they all have large populations. There would be no reason to expect South Dakota to add 100,000 jobs in six months because it has such a small workforce. However, size is not a sufficient explanation for the job creation levels. Tennessee and Indiana each have a large employed population and each lost over 11,000 jobs in the first half of the year.

The states on the 24/7 Wall St. "10 States That Added The Most Jobs In The First Half" fall mostly into three categories. The first are states with economies that were badly hurt by the downturn in manufacturing and housing, which began four years ago, and was worsened by the recession. For example, Ohio is the location of a number of auto parts suppliers. The job recovery over the first half of the year was probably driven to some extent by the recovery in the auto sector.

The second category consists of states which had large numbers of financial service jobs, particularly in the mortgage and consumer banking sectors. This group includes New York and Massachusetts, both of which have headquarters of the largest banks, securities firms and insurance companies in the country. The number of people laid off on Wall Street reached well into the tens of thousands in 2008 and 2009 as Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers failed. Mortgage firms like CountryWide in California nearly closed, and part of their survival strategies was job cuts.

The last and most interesting group of states that did well in the job creation category in the first half is those that never lost many jobs during the recession in the first place. Texas firms cut 116,900 jobs between the beginning of 2008 and end of 2010. It took only six months to add back 117,600 positions. The energy and tech industries, and large populations of people in higher education and healthcare, did not face the level of layoffs that occurred in places like Florida and Michigan.

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