"Energy and farm states outperformed the nation, as did states near the nation’s capital, according to a new study by a private forecaster," IHS Global Insight, Hall writes. "States that suffered a housing bust, and old industrial states, continue to suffer the most." IHS identifies "three pockets of strength:"
Several other states are within 3 percentage points of peak employment, many because of farm exports or strong crop production or both, Hall reports. They include Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nebraska and Vermont. For Hall's story, which includes a list of how much each state is off peak employment, click here.
Alaska, Louisiana, North Dakota and Texas, all of which are enjoying energy booms, already have returned to peak employment levels, but three of the four have small populations.
Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C., are within 2 percentage points of peak employment, thanks to government spending and related contracting.
Energy-rich Oklahoma, West Virginia and South Dakota are within striking distance of peak employment too, as are Pennsylvania and New York, big states with diversified economies.