A friend of mine recently left a comfortable position in DC for an uncertain employment situation in New York. Plenty of people succumb to New York’s pull without getting a job first, and perhaps that’s one reason there are about three unemployed people for every open position in the city. In DC, on the other hand, there is less than one unemployed person for every open position, making it the easiest place to find a job in Juju’s Job Search Difficulty Index.
More unemployed workers per job opening, or an increased labor supply if you like, can push down wages. The good news is this number is declining as more employers add positions around the world. The not-so-good news is they’re still taking a while to actually hire people.
The effects of the hiring lag are concentrated in some sectors and areas of the country. Construction is still losing jobs. Only the mining and education/health sectors have more jobs today than at the beginning of 2008.
The West, the Southeast and the northern Midwest still suffered unemployment rates higher than 10 percent in August, while the Great Plains had some of the lowest unemployment rates. According to Juju, Michigan is the most difficult place to find a job, followed by Nevada and Mississippi. Washington, DC is the easiest, followed by Virginia and Maryland.
Unemployment Rate by State
Of course, you can’t always choose where to do your job search. If you’re in construction or you’re tied to Michigan, things are probably going to be tough for a while. But if you do have some choice, it’s probably worthwhile to check out the best job markets in addition to your current city.