Job growth is a figure measured by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) that tracks how many payroll jobs are created in the United States every month. The figure, along with employment levels, is used to measure economic expansion and an indicator for national economic health, as higher job growth numbers indicate increasing economic growth and a strengthening job market. Job growth is reported each month as part of the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Employment Situation Summary. The BLS sends out a survey each month and compiles and publishes the results. The job growth figure is expressed as the gross number of jobs created in the United States in the previous month.
The minimum level of job growth needed to mitigate the effects of new people entering the workforce is between 100,000 and 150,000 new jobs per month. It is believed that these are the minimum required numbers to have a positive, sustainable impact; however, consistently high job growth figures are believed to be indicative of rising interest rates and inflation.
The COVID-19 pandemic severely impacted employment and job growth in the U.S. In January 2020, the unemployment rate was low at 3.5%; however, by April 2020, the unemployment rate jumped over 11 points to 14.7%. As of January 2021, the unemployment rate was 6.3%, and by February 2023 it had returned to pre-pandemic levels of 3.6%.
Job Growth by State February 2023
Because different states have drastically different populations and are home to different industries, their job growth rates vary greatly. The latest state-by-state job growth data is from February 2023. All fifty states and the District of Columbia saw job growth during this month.
The states with the largest total number of new jobs were California (17,969,600), Texas (13,831,900), New York (9,682,000), Florida (9,681,900), and Illinois (6,114,600). It makes sense for these states to have these kinds of numbers as they are some of the most populated states.
Looking at the percentage of job growth year over year, a different set of states emerge as the top five. Nevada saw a 5.1 job growth comparing February 2022 to February 2023. Texas, Florida, and Hawaii also saw high levels of growth. Most states had between 1% and 4% job growth during this time period. Only Maryland (0.7%) and West Virginia (0.4%) saw less than 1% growth year over year.