The South Created the Most Jobs in 2018


On an annual basis, total nonfarm employment in December increased by 2.6 million jobs, compared with a gain of 2.2 million in 2017. The Southern region created the most number of job by adding 1.2 million total nonfarm employment to the area, while Northeast created the least number of nonfarm jobs.

In the last 12 months, total nonfarm employment in the Southern region increased by 2.25% and in the Western region by 2.21%. The Midwest and the Northeast recorded the lowest gains at 1.44% and 1.38% respectively during this time.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nonfarm payroll employment increased in 44 states and the District of Columbia and decreased in six states in December 2018 compared to the previous month. Nationwide, total nonfarm payroll employment surged by 312,000 over the month of December, much higher than the upwardly revised 176,000 jobs in November.

Year-over-year, ending in December, 48 states and the District of Columbia increased in employment while Alaska and Vermont, lost payroll employment. Twenty-four states recorded annualized growth equal to and/or above 1.8% in employment, which was the national growth rate. Nevada recorded the highest growth rate at 3.9%, adding 52,400 workers during this time. Twenty-four states and the District of Columbia recorded annualized growth between 0.3%-1.7%. Alaska and Vermont both recorded declines of 0.1%.


In the construction sector specifically, which includes both residential and non-residential construction, across the 44 states which reported construction sector jobs data, 30 states had an increase in December, 11 states reported a decline, and three states remained unchanged compared to November. In the month of December Employment in construction rose by 38,000. Within the industry, heavy and civil engineering construction (+16,000) and nonresidential specialty trade contractors (+16,000) created the most number of jobs.

Over the year, construction added 280,000 jobs, compared with an increase of 250,000 in 2017. Yet employment in the industry is still below the 374,000 peak in April 2006. Connecticut had the highest annual growth in construction sector by 16.9%. Wyoming (14.9%) and Arizona (12.5%) round out the top three. Over this period, South Carolina reported the largest decline at 5.0%, followed by Alaska (-2.5%) and Maine (-2.1%).

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