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Where the Jobs Are
You have heard the grim statistics: With the nation’s unemployment rate hovering just under 10 percent, there are five applicants for every job. Sometimes more. In Illinois, for example, open teaching positions can draw thousands of applicants.
But there are places where unemployment is much lower than the national average. Most of these are states with smaller populations and relatively diverse economies. According to Business Insider, using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Census Bureau, these are the states with the lowest unemployment, as of 2010:
10 (tie). Iowa. The Hawkeye State has an unemployment rate of 6.8 percent. And, contrary to popular belief, those jobs are not necessarily on the farm. In addition to a strong agricultural economy, Iowa has plenty of jobs in manufacturing, biotech, financial services and government.
10 (tie). Minnesota. Like Iowa, Minnesota has an unemployment rate of 6.8 percent. In addition, 31 percent of its adults have at least a bachelor’s degree, which is higher than the national average. Minnesota’s jobs are in a variety of fields, including finished products, services and raw materials, and 33 of the nation's top 1,000 public companies are headquartered in Minnesota.
8. Wyoming. With an unemployment rate of 6.7 percent, Wyoming has jobs in mining, agriculture and tourism. And if the low unemployment rate is not enough, consider that Wyoming has an unusually generous approach to taxation. The state has no individual or corporate income tax, and its sales tax is also low.
7. Kansas. Even Dorothy could find a job in Kansas, which has an unemployment rate of 6.5 percent. In addition to agriculture, Kansas has jobs in oil and gas production and in aerospace. Some 28.8 percent of adult Kansans have at least a bachelor’s degree, which is higher than the national average.
6. Hawaii. In addition to gorgeous beaches and lovely weather, the Aloha State has jobs. With an unemployment rate of 6.3 percent, most of the state’s jobs are in the tourism industry. In addition, Hawaii has the highest percentage of millionaires of any state, and a higher-than-average number of adults with a bachelor’s degree or better. But it also has high taxes.
5. Vermont. Agriculture, especially dairy farming and logging, helps keep unemployment at only 6 percent in the Green Mountain State. There also are jobs in manufacturing, insurance, quarries and tourism. Vermont has a high education level, with 33.6 percent of adults having a bachelor’s degree or more.
4. New Hampshire. New Hampshire has an unemployment rate of 5.8 percent, and most of its jobs are in agriculture, manufacturing and tourism. The state also has no state income or sales tax, one of the highest median salaries in the country, and a highly educated population that includes 32.5 percent of adults with at least a bachelor’s degree.
3. Nebraska. The home of billionaire Warren Buffett has an unemployment rate of 4.7 percent. It is another largely agricultural state, although it also has jobs in transportation, telecommunications, manufacturing and technology.
2. South Dakota. With an unemployment rate of only 4.4 percent, many of South Dakota’s jobs are in the service sector and agriculture. But the second-largest employer in the state is Ellsworth Air Force Base, near Rapid City.
1. North Dakota. North Dakota is one of the nation’s smallest states, with a population of less than 700,000. But it also has the smallest unemployment rate, at a measly 3.6 percent. Its jobs are in a number of different industries, especially agriculture, petroleum and food processing.