Job Base Expansion in 2023 Exceeds National Norm in 12 States

The nation’s total job base expanded 2% in 2023. In 12 states, however, that rate of job growth was even stronger. Nevada, Idaho, South Dakota, Wyoming, Texas, South Carolina, West Virginia, Florida, Kentucky, New Mexico, North Dakota and Arizona all grew total employment at a faster pace than the national norm in 2023. Most of those states are located in the South and West regions of the country.

Nevada grew its total employment base at the highest rate in the country in 2023, with its job count growing 3.8% with the net addition of 57,700 jobs, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Nearly three-fourths (73%) of the state’s total employment is in the Las Vegas metro area, with Vegas accounting for 80% of the state’s job growth in 2023. The Leisure/Hospitality Services sector accounts for roughly one in four jobs in both the state and in Las Vegas. Much of Nevada’s job growth over the past year was seen in the Leisure/Hospitality Services sector (+16,000 jobs or 4.5% growth) followed by Professional/Business Services (+14,500 jobs or 6.7% growth) with the bulk of those additions in Las Vegas.

The nation’s second-best performers, Idaho and South Dakota, were 80 basis points behind Nevada, both with job growth of 3% in 2023. Idaho added 25,000 jobs over the past year. Pandemic darling market Boise City accounted for more than half (52%) of that job growth while the metro area accounts for less than half (47%) of statewide employment. (Boise City has also grown its young adult population and apartment inventory hugely in the last couple years.) Much of Idaho’s job growth in 2023 was attributed to Education/Health Services (+9,500 jobs or 7.7% growth) and Government (+6,200 jobs or 4.8% growth). Meanwhile, South Dakota, which has 37% of its total employment in Sioux Falls, added 13,800 jobs. That job growth was driven by the Construction industry (+5,200 jobs or 20.8% growth). (Sioux Falls has also maintained very healthy apartment demand over the lows and highs recorded in the last couple years.)

Wyoming, which has the smallest employment base nationally, added 8,100 jobs in 2023, expanding its job count 2.8%. The two metropolitan areas in Wyoming, Casper and Cheyenne, comprise less than a third of the state’s total employment. Leisure/Hospitality Services helped drive the state’s overall job gains in 2023, with that sector adding 2,300 jobs for a 6% year-over-year gain, while Mining/Logging/Construction also contributed notably (+1,600 jobs or 4.2% growth).

Other states that exceeded the national average job growth rate of 2% in 2023 were Texas (2.7%), South Carolina (2.6%), West Virginia (2.6%), Florida (2.5%), Kentucky (2.4%), New Mexico (2.4%), North Dakota (2.2%) and Arizona (2.1%). Three states – Delaware, Georgia and North Carolina – grew their job bases exactly in line with the national norm of 2.0%.

Mississippi was the only state to record an overall job loss in 2023, with the employment base contracting 0.7%. That job loss was attributed Professional/Business Services (-7,700 jobs), Manufacturing (-4,400 jobs) and Transportation/Utilities (-3,100 jobs). Meanwhile, eight states grew total employment less than 1% in 2023.

Based on the total number of jobs added by state in 2023, Texas took the lead with the addition of 369,600 jobs, followed by California (+311,600 jobs) and Florida (+240,600 jobs). Those three states accounted for 35% of the nation’s total net job gains in 2023 and they are also the nation’s three largest employment hubs.