Looking for Work? Avoid These 10 States with Slim Job Prospects

Inflation has been cooling, unemployment rates are historically low, and wages have been rising, but that doesn’t mean the economic outlook is rosy everywhere and for everyone.

The following are the ten states where you’re least likely to find a job. The numbers are current as of May 2023.

A recent report analyzed the US states with the highest unemployment rates.

Nevada (5.27% Unemployment Rate)

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Nevada has a lot of jobs related to the tourism and entertainment industries, but a lot of them are high-turnover jobs. Those industries were also hit hard by the pandemic. Although recovery is well underway, this could explain why the unemployment rate is the nation’s highest.

 

California (4.48%)

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If California were a country, it would be the 5th-largest economy in the world. However, the tech industry has been hard hit over the past year, which might be a big part of why the state’s unemployment rate went from 15th-highest in 2022 to 2nd-highest in the country this year.

 

Texas (4.1%)

The Alamo in San Antonio, Texas, USA.
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Texas has seen a business boom in recent years, and a lot of the growth has been in tech, which has gone through some woes lately. That could be a major factor in why Texas, like California, has seen a spike in its unemployment rate since 2022 (from 16th to 3rd). Texas also has vast rural areas and small towns where jobs are scarce.

 

Delaware (3.92%)

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Although Delaware’s unemployment rate is currently the nation’s 4th-highest, it’s still below its long-term average of 5.36%. Credit card companies and manufacturers are big drivers of the state’s economy, which is known for business-friendly policies.

 

Louisiana (3.9%)

NEW ORLEANS - MAY 6: Central Business District and French Quarter skyline as seen from Algiers Point in New Orleans on May 6, 2014.
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Chemical, coal, and petroleum products are the leading manufacturing industries in the state. The increased emphasis on renewable energy sources might be pushing the state’s unemployment rate above the national average (from 20th to 5th since 2022), but Louisiana’s economic growth has traditionally lagged behind the rest of the nation.

 

New Jersey (3.85%)

Panoramic view of New Jersey City skylines.
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Like California, Texas, and Louisiana, New Jersey has seen a marked change in its unemployment rate ranking since 2022. In this case, the change is from 19th to 6th in terms of states with the highest unemployment rates. Its economy currently has a negative growth rate as well, at -0.07%.

 

Kentucky (3.85%)

Thoroughbred horses grazing at sunset in a field in Kentucky.
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Kentucky has long struggled economically as coal, manufacturing, and other jobs have disappeared. The good news for the state, though, is that its economy is growing at a 0.13% rate right now, not as high as in some other states but still much better than a negative trend.

 

New York (3.83%)

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Despite its status as the financial capital of the world, New York City is not unlike other major American cities in that it has been a struggle to get workers back to the office after the pandemic. This, along with small towns in upstate areas that have weaker economies, contributes to the unemployment rate, which at least is lower than last year’s.

 

Michigan (3.76%)

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Midwestern states like Michigan have struggled with economic declines for a long time now, largely due to job losses in the automobile and manufacturing industries. It’s not helping that the largest city, Detroit, has a 16% unemployment rate at the moment.

 

Alaska (3.73%)

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Industries like energy production, mineral extraction, and fishing are powerful forces in Alaska’s economy, but they’re subject to boom-bust cycles. Because of the remote location and challenging weather, though, jobs in Alaska tend to pay well.

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Hi! I am a millennial mom with a passion for personal finance. I have always been “into” personal finance but got inspired to start my blog after a period of extended unemployment. That experience really changed the way I viewed my relationship with money and the importance of accessible personal finance education.