The Best and Worst States to Hire Workers

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Table Of Contents

It has never been more challenging to hire workers. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported on October 4 that there were 10.7 million unfilled jobs in the United States while unemployment is at 3.7%. This means there were a historically low .5% unemployed Americans for every open job.  Simply put, employers are currently hiring from the smallest pool of unemployed job candidates than at any time in the 21st century. Moreover, many of the job seekers are holding out for jobs they are more passionate about.

For comparison, there were 1.5 unemployed Americans for every job opening in September 2007, prior to the Great Recession, a number that grew to 6.5 in July 2009 coming out of it.

Factors That Impact The Hiring Crisis

The hiring crisis facing business owners is based on myriad factors.


The Great Resignation, meanwhile, remains a major factor in this trend with quit rates remaining high. While it is true, this means employers have more chances to poach talent, it also leaves them vulnerable to getting two-week notices of their own.

In response, companies have been implementing changes to boost retention rates, including increasing both salary and benefits and offering more flexibility to workers. Despite such efforts, one in five employed adults are actively applying for new positions, according to a Morning Consult survey. Workers in that study cited a desire for higher wages as the primary factor driving their job search.


Moreover, there is a national trend around “Quiet Quitting” which refers to employees doing their bare minimum job and no longer going above and beyond at the workplace. Workers have been becoming less engaged at work since the second half of 2021, according to a Gallup report, and quiet quitters now comprise about at least half of the U.S. workforce. Engagement is falling fastest among younger workers.

Such a trend can have a material impact on companies. Gallup estimates that a lack of engagement costs global employers $7.8 trillion in lost productivity.

The long-term impact of these trends will have on bottom lines remains to be seen but it puts a greater emphasis on recruiting top talent committed to the success of the organization. Ultimately, 50% of small business owners said it was harder to hire in the third quarter of 2022 than it was a year ago, according to a recent CNBC/SurveyMonkey Small Business Survey.

Amid concerns about a potential recession, however, workers may be losing some of the advantages gained in the past several years. The ability of employers to find and retain the best workers depends on many factors, including geography, as the economic situation and the talent pool vary widely from state to state.

Key Findings

To find the best states for hiring workers now, CareerCloud analyzed federal data in five categories including job openings, population growth, education levels, diversity, and the business tax climate. Here are some of our key findings:

  • Top States: Florida is the best state for hiring, followed by Washington, Delaware, Nevada, and Arizona.
  • Bottom States: West Virginia is the worst state for hiring, due to poor scores on population growth, education levels, diversity, and the job openings rate. Louisiana and Ohio are the second- and third- worst states for hiring, respectively.
  • Migration Matters: Eight of the top 10 states on our list are in the top quartile for population growth.


10. Colorado

When it comes to having a college-educated workforce, Colorado has the second-highest percentage in the nation. The Centennial State has become a favorite among entrepreneurs, and pandemic-prompted coastal transplants looking for more space and a more relaxed lifestyle.

9. New Hampshire

New Hampshire’s solid scores on measures of its business tax climate and education levels are factors that contribute to the Granite State’s high ranking on this list, although it scores poorly when it comes to diversity. The fastest-growing state in the Northeast has no income or sales tax and benefits from a variety of industries, including technology, manufacturing, and tourism.

7. Utah (Tied)

Utah has benefited from an influx of transplants, pushing its population growth rate to the second-fastest in the country. Despite all the new residents, Utah’s job openings rate remains the seventh lowest in the country, and the state was one of the first in the country to surpass its pre-pandemic employment levels. The “Silicon Slopes” have a burgeoning tech industry and has seen recent gains in the field of trade and transportation as well as leisure and hospitality.

7. Texas (Tied)

A diverse, growing population pushes the Lone Star state close to the top of our list. The business-friendly administration draws many companies to Texas, along with a skilled workforce that enjoys a relatively low cost of living. While known for its oil and gas industry, Texas has a more diversified economy, drawing companies in professional services, health, and manufacturing.

5. North Carolina (Tied)

North Carolina’s famed Research Triangle has seen explosive population growth since the pandemic, adding to the already large, educated talent pool that appeals to many employers. Workers here enjoy the state’s relatively low cost of living and a lifestyle that includes easy access to beaches, mountains, and cities. More than a dozen Fortune 500 companies have headquarters in the Tar Heel State, which a varied industry base that includes financial services, pharmaceuticals, and furniture manufacturing.

5. Arizona (Tied)

The fourth-fastest growing state in the country offers employers a large, well-educated workforce and pro-business regulatory environment. Migration to the state reflects an appreciation for its growing economy, relatively low cost of living, and cultural diversity. Despite recent wage increases, housing affordability has fallen significantly here of late, but long-term the economic prospects for Arizona remain positive.

4. Nevada

While Nevada scores extremely low (48th) on measures of education, it scores in the top 10 for every other metric used to calculate this list. The state has the third-best score on the Census’ diversity index, an increasingly important factor for companies looking to improve their diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) efforts. The state suffered during the pandemic as its economic engines of tourism, gaming, and hospitality were among the hardest hit industries, but it rebounded rapidly as restrictions lifted.

3. Delaware

The First State is the sixth-fastest growing in the country. The tax-friendly state attracts a variety of different industries, from finance to pharmaceuticals. It also boasts a relatively low cost of doing business and one of the highest unemployment rates in the country, meaning employers may have an easier time hiring. It is also ideally located less than two hours from both Washington, D.C., and New York City, and less than an hour from Philadelphia (and its airport).

2. Washington

The Evergreen State has the second-lowest job openings rate (the number of job openings relative to the number of available workers) in the country, meaning that employers there may face less competition to attract workers. The state also benefits from a highly educated workforce and a relatively business-friendly tax climate. Employers like Amazon and Microsoft calling Washington their home state, drawing a tech-savvy workforce to the area.

1. Florida

Florida ranks in among the top 10 states on measures of its tax friendliness toward businesses, its population growth rate, and in diversity. The Sunshine State has the third-largest workforce in the nation and a pro-business government. While costs are rising along with demand, for now Florida also remains a relatively inexpensive place for both real estate and talent when compared to other states of a similar size.


Even if you’re in a state where the balance is shifting towards employers, attracting and retaining employees can be a challenge in today’s market. Follow these tips to minimize the impact of labor shortages on your business:

Use Contractors

Hiring freelancers has several advantages for your company, including more flexibility to ramp up and down your headcount depending on your needs. Since you don’t have to pay contractors benefits, this may also be a more cost-effective option.

Tap Your Social Networks

Social networks like LinkedIn and Twitter are a great resource for connecting with talent. You can use such platforms to build your brand and enhance your position as a thought leader, and you can use it to find potential employees who for open roles. You can also use free job posting sites to find candidates for free.

Leverage Recruiters

A good recruiter can be a competitive advantage in today’s marketplace, since they often have personal relationships with potential candidates. Recruiters can also save you the time spent vetting applicants, presenting you with only those who’ve passed a first-round screening.

Poach From Your Competition

Enticing employees away from another company to join yours can be a net benefit, bringing in new workers who already have experience in your industry. Keep an eye out for potential recruits who may not be actively looking for a new job but might be open to the right role.

Look At Your Company’s Culture

If you’re following all of the steps above and still unable to attract or retain new employees, it may be time to look within. If there are outdated or undesirable aspects of your company’s culture, making internal changes could result in more recruiting wins.


We ranked states based on their Tax Friendliness to Business (Tax Foundation), population growth (Census) education levels (St. Louis Fed), Diversity (Census), and the Jobs Openings Rate (Census). We then used an average of each state’s ranking on those factors to determine an overall score for each state to determine how their hiring picture compares to other states.