Despite what many recent headlines would have you believe, cities are not where the majority of the people in the country are interested in living. In fact, from 2000 to 2014, the share of Americans who lived in urban neighborhoods dropped from 21.7 percent in 2000 to 20.1 percent in 2014, numbers that don’t exactly fit the ‘urban revival’ narrative. What the numbers actually show, is an outward shift away from urban centers and towards the suburbs. As the population shifts from the Midwest and Northeast to the South and the West, data regarding state jobs tends to mirror these trends.
According to Bloomberg, since 1990, the majority of the states that have added the most jobs have been in the West and, to a lesser extent, the South. Nevada, Utah, Idaho, Arizona, Colorado, and Texas have added jobs at the fastest rates. Out of the top 15 states on this list, only Florida was located east of the Mississippi.
The states that have experienced the slowest job growth since 1990 are Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Michigan, Washington, D.C., and Maine. The rest of the list is more of the same; every one is located in either the Northeast of the Midwest.
Have patterns begun to shift, though? What if the numbers were more recent in nature, say, measuring data since 2010? Since 2010, Utah, North Dakota, Colorado, Texas, Florida, and Idaho have added jobs the fastest. The rest of the list is all Southern or Western states, with the surprising exception of Michigan.
The states with the slowest job growth since 2010 are West Virginia, Wyoming, New Mexico, Maine, Alabama, and Missouri. There is a bit more regional diversity here, but the Northeast and Midwest are still heavily represented. The two slowest-growing states, West Virginia and Wyoming, are also the two biggest coal-mining states in the country.
Overall the numbers tell the same story they have been telling for a while, jobs are heading west and South and the country, generally, continues to grow outward, away from big cities.
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