Sep 052015

Screen Shot 2015-09-05 at 1.23.18 PMEmployment has been growing faster than average in the recent past on the West Coast generally and in the Pacific Northwest states in particular. Among the states I follow as a regional economist, Montana and Alaska, both hit hard by the collapse of oil prices, rank well below aveage.

The table is drawn from the latest state-level employment data available from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Note that both Washington and Oregon make the Top 10 across the board — in total non-farm employment, in the important goods-producing sector (where pay tends to be relatively high), and in the services-providing sector.

The goods-producing sector includes manufacturing, construction and resource extraction (mining, logging, etc.). Jobs in this sector account for 14-15% of all employment. The private service-providing sector accounts for about two-thirds of all employment. The balance of employment, not shown in the table, is in government.

Idaho led all states in the rate of employment change in the goods-producing sector. The so-called Left Coast states — California, Oregon and Washington, all reliably left-leaning in politics — are doing quite well in the jobs derby.


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