15 States Where Employers Can’t Hire Enough People

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There are tons of jobs out there if you know where to look.
Updated Feb. 23, 2023
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The world has seen significant upheaval over the last few years. The pandemic and inflation have taken a toll on Americans’ physical, mental, and economic health.

Now businesses are having a hard time finding people to hire. So, if you’re trying to stop living paycheck to paycheck or thinking about a career change, there are plenty of opportunities out there.

Here are 15 states where employers need workers the most.

15. Wisconsin

Michael Henderson/Adobe Madison Capitol

Job opening rate in the last 12 months: 7.07%

Largest employers: University of Wisconsin (40,000), Walmart (32,000), Aurora Health Care (17,000)

Largest industry: Manufacturing

Why demand is high: Retirement, aging workforce, workers leaving the state, skills mismatch.

Tips for job seekers: If you’ve got the right skills (low or high), you can find a job in Wisconsin. The state needs just about everything.

14. Colorado

Kevin Ruck/Adobe Denver Colorado USA drone aerial skyline

Job opening rate in the last 12 months: 7.23%

Largest employers: University of Colorado (36,500), Denver International Airport (35,000), Walmart (29,000)

Largest industry: Real estate, rental, leasing

Why demand is high: Demand for skills in the professional, scientific, and technical industries remains strong.

Tips for job seekers: Colorado attracts young talent and tech employers, and its job market is projected to stay competitive.

13. Tennessee

Kevin Ruck/Adobe aerial view of Chattanooga Tennessee

Job opening rate in the last 12 months: 7.29%

Largest employers: Walmart (43,000), FedEx (30,000), HCA Healthcare (17,000)

Largest industry: Manufacturing

Why demand is high: Low wages and a lack of benefits. The gig economy and other ways to make extra money are also driving the labor shortage.

Tips for job seekers: Nurses and retail are in particularly high demand. Wages remain below the national average.

12. South Carolina

f11photo/Adobe palm trees and traffic lights in charleston street

Job opening rate in the last 12 months: 7.56%

Largest employers: Walmart (43,000), Prisma Health (29,000), BMW (11,000)

Largest industry: Manufacturing

Why demand is high: Retirement, aging workforce, lack of education, and child care access.

Tips for job seekers: Skilled workers in manufacturing, construction, and tech will have no problem finding a job in South Carolina.

11. Kentucky

f11photo/Adobe view of Skyline downtown Louisville

Job opening rate in the last 12 months: 7.84%

Largest employers: Walmart (31,000), Catholic Health Initiatives (27,000), University of Kentucky (24,000)

Largest industry: Manufacturing

Why demand is high: Kentucky had the highest quit rate in America during the “Great Resignation.” There are also health, child care, and education issues.

Tips for job seekers: The sectors that have seen the biggest job growth are government and manufacturing. Louisville in particular is seeing a boost in job opportunities.

10. Vermont

SeanPavonePhoto/Adobe Burlington Vermont USA

Job opening rate in the last 12 months: 7.61%

Largest employers: University of Vermont Medical Center (9,000), Howe Library (5,000), Okemo Mountain Resort (3,000)

Largest industry: Real estate, rental, leasing

Why demand is high: Small population: 646,000. Child care and housing are expensive, job quality is lacking, and young people are leaving.

Tips for job seekers: The construction, health care, and manufacturing industries are in particular need of workers.

9. Delaware

gnagel/Adobe Building in Delaware

Job opening rate in the last 12 months: 6.96%

Largest employers: ChristianaCare (13,000), JP Morgan (11,000), Amazon (7,000)

Largest industry: Finance, insurance

Why demand is high: Small population: 1 million. Lack of experience, lack of “soft skills.”

Tips for job seekers: Manufacturing, health care and retail are in demand. The state itself is pushing to fill government positions.

8. Wyoming

kankankavee/Adobe Grand Tetons peak at sunrise with Snake River

Job opening rate in the last 12 months: 7.81%

Largest employers: Walmart (5,000), University of Wyoming (4,500), Sheridan College (3,000)

Largest industry: Mining, quarrying, oil and gas

Why demand is high: Small population: 579,000. Geography is an issue because workers might not live where the jobs are.

Tips for job seekers: Mining, computer and electronics manufacturing, and film are growing industries.

7. Virginia

Kevin Ruck/Adobe Richmond Virginia USA downtown drone skyline aerial

Job opening rate in the last 12 months: 7.37%

Largest employers: Mars Inc. (100,000), Bechtel Corp. (55,000), Walmart (45,000)

Largest industry: Professional, scientific, technical services

Why demand is high: Cost of labor, lack of education, lack of experience, skill mismatches, job location.

Tips for job seekers: Nurses, analysts, developers, and retail workers are in big demand. And because of the proximity to D.C., the federal government remains a major employer.

6. West Virginia

SeanPavonePhoto/Adobe West Virginia State Capitol in Charleston

Job opening rate in the last 12 months: 7.67%

Largest employers: West Virginia University Hospital (16,000), Walmart (12,000), Charleston Area Medical Center (8,000)

Largest industry: Mining, quarrying, oil and gas

Why demand is high: Lack of skills, lack of reliable transportation, lack of child care.

Tips for job seekers: In-demand jobs run the gamut: nurses, administration, professional, scientific, and technical services.

5. New Mexico

SeanPavonePhoto/Adobe Albuquerque New Mexico USA downtown cityscape

Job opening rate in the last 12 months: 7.23%

Largest employers: The University of New Mexico (15,000), Walmart (15,000), Presbyterian Healthcare Services (14,000)

Largest industry: Mining, quarrying, oil and gas

Why demand is high: Retirement, aging workforce, people leaving the state, disability, non-working mothers.

Tips for job seekers: Health care, IT, STEM careers, construction, and education positions are all in high demand.

4. Louisiana

Ball Studios/Adobe Louisana State Capitol

Job opening rate in the last 12 months: 7.29%

Largest employers: Walmart (36,000), Ochsner Health (35,000), Acadia Healthcare (22,500)

Largest industry: Manufacturing

Why demand is high: Workers have been quitting at historic rates. Lack of skills.

Tips for job seekers: The oil and gas industry is expected to grow among the state’s high-demand jobs.

3. Montana

jonbilous/Adobe view of Missoula from Mount Sentinel

Job opening rate in the last 12 months: 8.06%

Largest employers: Talen Montana (12,000), Fringe Benefit Resources (12,000), Walmart (4,900)

Largest industry: Real estate, rental, leasing

Why demand is high: Small population: 1.1 million. Aging workers, retirement, young workers looking elsewhere.

Tips for job seekers: Carpenters, cooks, construction workers, and general managers are projected to see the biggest growth in the coming years.

2. Georgia

SeanPavonePhoto/Adobe Atlanta Georgia USA

Job opening rate in the last 12 months: 7.96%

Largest employers: Walmart (66,843), Delta Airlines (33,000), Home Depot (30,000)

Largest industry: Real estate, rental, leasing

Why demand is high: Retirement, lack of qualified and skilled workers, child care, stricter immigration.

Tips for job seekers: Georgia’s jobs in demand run the gamut from health care to IT to construction and film.

1. Alaska

Galyna Andrushko/Adobe lake on Alaska

Job opening rate in the last 12 months: 9.5%

Largest employers: Providence Health & Services (4,000), Walmart (2,477), Fred Meyer Stores (1,544)

Largest industry: Mining, quarrying, oil and gas

Why demand is high: Small population: 733,000. Lack of skilled workers, lack of child care, shrinking population.

Tips for job seekers: Alaskan health care jobs are in the highest demand. Leisure and hospitality are projected to grow, as are jobs connected to the Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport and the oil and gas industry.

Bottom line

Mediteraneo/Adobe candidates waiting for a job interview

Americans faced widespread layoffs during the pandemic. Now businesses can’t find enough people.

It’s a good time to be on the hunt for a job. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of job openings increased to 11 million on the last business day of December.

There are plenty of money-making opportunities to be found that can help you boost your bank account if you know where to look.

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Author Details

Will Vitka Will Vitka is a D.C. area reporter and writer. He previously worked for WTOP, The New York Post, Stuff Magazine, and CBS News.

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