, WalletHub Financial WriterApr 19, 2023

During the COVID-19 pandemic, millions of Americans lost their jobs and experienced financial difficulties due to unemployment. Now, for many employers, the shoe is on the other foot. Lots of businesses are struggling to hire enough workers, which has sometimes led to delays in services and reduced business hours. In fact, the labor force participation rate is still below pre-pandemic levels, and is at one of the lowest points in decades. Some businesses aren’t even able to keep the employees they already have – as Americans are quitting their jobs at record rates in what’s been dubbed the “Great Resignation.”

Within the U.S., workers are easier to find in some states than others. In order to see where employers are struggling the most in hiring, WalletHub compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia based on the rate of job openings for both the latest month and the last 12 months.

Rank  State Job Openings Rate (Latest Month)  Job Openings Rate (Last 12 Months) 
1 Alaska 7.60% 8.99%
2 Georgia 7.90% 7.83%
3 West Virginia 7.50% 8.01%
4 Louisiana 7.50% 7.70%
5 Virginia 7.20% 7.52%
6 South Carolina 7.10% 7.38%
7 Arkansas 7.30% 6.91%
8 Maryland 7.20% 7.08%
9 Montana 6.70% 7.78%
10 Colorado 7.00% 7.13%
11 Delaware 7.00% 7.11%
12 Tennessee 6.90% 7.21%
13 North Carolina 6.90% 7.09%
14 Pennsylvania 7.00% 6.68%
15 Mississippi 6.70% 6.89%
16 Oklahoma 6.60% 7.08%
17 Kentucky 6.30% 7.70%
18 South Dakota 6.70% 6.81%
19 Massachusetts 6.50% 7.22%
20 Maine 6.60% 6.78%
21 New Mexico 6.40% 7.08%
22 Alabama 6.50% 6.78%
23 Rhode Island 6.40% 6.98%
24 Nevada 6.40% 6.78%
25 Vermont 6.10% 7.30%
26 Illinois 6.20% 6.83%
27 Missouri 6.20% 6.71%
28 Wyoming 5.90% 7.30%
29 Iowa 6.00% 6.78%
30 New Hampshire 5.90% 6.96%
31 Texas 6.00% 6.66%
32 Idaho 5.90% 6.86%
33 Minnesota 5.90% 6.85%
34 North Dakota 5.90% 6.71%
35 Kansas 6.00% 6.44%
36 Nebraska 5.90% 6.54%
37 Florida 5.90% 6.40%
38 Ohio 5.70% 6.66%
39 Wisconsin 5.50% 6.99%
40 Oregon 5.70% 6.51%
41 Michigan 5.50% 6.76%
42 Hawaii 5.50% 6.47%
43 Arizona 5.40% 6.65%
44 New Jersey 5.80% 5.79%
45 Connecticut 5.60% 6.08%
46 Utah 5.40% 6.17%
47 Indiana 5.10% 6.33%
48 California 5.10% 6.32%
49 Washington 4.90% 5.90%
50 District of Columbia 4.90% 5.82%
51 New York 4.20% 5.10%

Expert Commentary What are the main factors that are influencing the high turnover rates in the labor market? “Increasingly, employees are expecting more from their work lives in terms of work-life balance, flexibility, and personal well-being – and are less willing to be overworked. This, however, has not meshed well with employers’ simultaneously increasing expectations for employee workloads and demands. The natural result of these increasingly mismatched expectations is higher turnover rates.”Maura J. Mills, Ph.D. – Associate Professor, The University of Alabama “The pandemic has caused a major shift in the perception of workers from the traditional 9-5 job and recognizing the need for creating time for other aspects of life outside of work. So, there is a misalignment of employers who mainly seek to foster the traditional working environment, and employees who now want more from their jobs in terms of incentives to work terms of needing relief from continuous work burnout, seeking a flexible working environment, work-life balance, career growth opportunities and pursuing projects that they are passionate about.”Favour Olarewaju – Ph.D. Student, Department of Economics, University of Memphis How can employers attract and retain employees during this troubling period? “Employers must focus on the employee experience at work. Employees want to feel valued by their employers for all of their contributions. Without recognition, rewards, incentives, and pay that match their individual value to the organization, employees will continue to leave. They must offer health and wellness packages, they must show through their actions and behaviors that they are diversity intelligent and want to hire and retain diverse employees – lip service is no longer enough, and they must offer equitable pay packages and career pathways for advancements. Without clear career pathways for advancement, potential employees no longer believe that a pathway to advancement will happen.”Claretha Hughes – Professor, University of Arkansas “Employers need to offer competitive salaries, plain and simple. If they are not willing to pay for talented contributors who can work hard and deliver, then they do not have a future. But employers should also not get into a horse race where they are constantly raising wages because of seeming ‘market conditions.’ Employers should distinguish themselves based on their vision and practical implementation of it – that is, how do you make the world a better place, and how are you doing it today? Talk is cheap, but if there’s convincing evidence that they are successfully impacting lives, people want to be part of it. And in the process of building that broader impact, the organizational culture thrives and grows as people journey and grow with one another internally. The way to build culture starts with simple practices, such as showing people that they are appreciated and providing learning opportunities, but it also requires leadership at the top that stands firm on their principles.”Christos A. Makridis – Digital Fellow, Stanford University In your opinion, will this imbalance in the labor market continue to be an issue throughout all of 2023 or will it get solved faster? “This imbalance in the labor market might persist for a while because it will take some time for the labor forces to adjust as employees now seek to balance a hybrid work environment. However, with the pressing rate of inflation that is not matched with rising wages, people might be left with no choice but to prolong their stay in the labor market even if temporarily in order to cope with rising prices.”Favour Olarewaju – Ph.D. Student, Department of Economics, University of Memphis “This is highly dependent upon industry. Some industries are likely to continue to experience challenges with the labor landscape, while others are likely to grow quite robustly. Various factors contribute to this, including the rapid development of AI [artificial intelligence], which is drastically changing the labor landscape, skills requirements, and job expectations in some job sectors, and will continue to do so long beyond 2023.”Maura J. Mills, Ph.D. – Associate Professor, The University of Alabama