Admittedly the pace of job creation is sluggish. Still, there are more than 4 million jobs today compared to the low point in early 2010. Under the ideal case of no economic fluctuation, a steadily expanding economy, and a 5 percent unemployment rate, there would be 10 million more jobs than what we have today. But the economy is never perfect and we have to deal with what we have.
Some states have been very fortunate to escape economic hardship altogether, with continuous job gains year after year. North Dakota in particular has been a shining example. In the latest jobs figure, North Dakota added 26,300 jobs over the past 12 months. The total job count has grown from 320,000 to 420,000 in the past 10 years, an astonishing 30% growth while the rest of the country was barely treading water. North Dakota also does not have any foreclosure problem to speak of.
Michigan had been bleeding badly – a decade-long economic depression state – before a rebound in recent years. The Wolverine State created 62,000 net new jobs in the past 12 months and nearly 300,000 in the past three years. The recovery in jobs is one big reason for a home sales recovery in Michigan.
After a hard landing, Phoenix is rapidly turning around with solid 45,000 net new jobs over the 12 months and a home price appreciation running at 20 percent or so on an annualized pace since the beginning of the year (that is, price gains of 2.0 percent or better each month since January). Jobs and the housing market will work in tandem with one helping the other.
Other areas of note in job growth are the following:
- If you cannot stand the cold in North Dakota, try Lafayette, Louisiana, where the job base has rocketed forward by 10 percent in a single year.
- A better chance of finding a job in Northern California than in Southern California.
- Plenty of jobs in Fayetteville, Arkansas, but hardly any in the rest of the state. The same story is happening in the northwest, with Seattle getting all the new jobs in the state of Washington.
- Recession-proof government protected jobs in the D.C. area are beginning to slow down. Not job cuts, but job creation is beginning to slow.
- Tampa is better than Orlando if looking for a job in central Florida.
- Houston is lively with 85,000 new jobs in the past 12 months, an equivalent to a stadium full of people. But so is Austin, Dallas, San Antonio, and just about anywhere in Texas.
- Missouri and Wisconsin were the only states with fewer jobs today than 12 months ago.