Report ranks states with the most job openings, finds North Dakota in the middle of the pack

(Source & Credit: 24/7 Wall St.) — The number of unfilled jobs has hit multi-decade highs in recent months, and businesses across the country are struggling to find and hire workers. There were more than 11 million job openings nationwide at the end of May 2022, the most recent available period, just shy of the all-time high reported earlier this year, and 17% more than in May 2021. 

There are several causes explaining this historic labor shortage. During the pandemic, early retirements surged, parents of school-age children left the workforce en masse, and immigration slowed considerably, resulting in millions of fewer workers than there otherwise would have been. 

Today, the labor force participation rate – the share of Americans 16 and older either working or looking for work – stands at 62.2%, a low not seen in the pre-pandemic United States since the 1970s. The national labor shortage is putting a strain on American business, forcing some employers to reduce hours and others to close completely. 

Reviewing and Ranking the States by Data

Using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 24/7 Wall St. identified the states with the most job openings. States are ranked by the share of all jobs that were unfilled as of the end of May 2022, the most recent month of available data. Depending on the state, the share of jobs that remain unfilled ranges from 5.4% to 8.4%. Nationwide, 6.9% of jobs are unfilled. 

Despite the need for workers, a small percentage of the labor force remains unemployed, suggesting a mismatch – either between the skills employers are seeking and the labor pool, or the kind of work or benefits job seekers desire and what employers offer. The national unemployment rate was 3.6% in May 2022. Depending on the state, unemployment rates range from 1.9% to 5.7%.

To determine the states with the most job openings, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. States are ranked by the job openings rate, which is calculated by dividing the number of job openings by the sum of filled jobs and job openings and multiplying the quotient by 100. For multiple states with the same job openings rate, ties were broken by the actual number of job openings.

Job openings are the number of positions – full-time, part-time, seasonal, short-term, or permanent – open on the last business day of May 2022, the most recent month of available data. In order to be counted as open, a job has to start within 30 days of when the employer can find a suitable candidate.

Figures on unemployment and labor force size, which includes those who are either working or actively looking for work, are also from the BLS. 

North Dakota’s Rankings and a Look at Neighboring States

Based on 24/7 Wall St. methodology, North Dakota ranked 31st among the 50 states for job openings. Specifically, the data found:

> Job openings at the end of May 2022: 7.0% of all jobs (32,000 total openings)
> May 2022 unemployment: 2.6% (10,756 people)
> 1-year change in job openings: +18.5% (5,000 more openings)
> Labor force size: 410,871 people

A look at North Dakota’s neighboring states finds:

Montana
> Rank: 2nd in the Nation for most job openings
> Job openings at the end of May 2022: 8.2% of all jobs (45,000 total openings)
> May 2022 unemployment: 2.4% (13,739 people)
> 1-year change in job openings: +25.0% (9,000 more openings)
> Labor force size: 562,828 people

Minnesota
> Rank: 12th in the Nation for most job openings
> Job openings at the end of May 2022: 7.5% of all jobs (236,000 total openings)
> May 2022 unemployment: 2.0% (61,551 people)
> 1-year change in job openings: +21.0% (41,000 more openings)
> Labor force size: 3,086,907 people

South Dakota
> Rank: 30th in the Nation for most job openings
> Job openings at the end of May 2022: 7.0% of all jobs (34,000 total openings)
> May 2022 unemployment: 2.3% (10,721 people)
> 1-year change in job openings: +21.4% (6,000 more openings)
> Labor force size: 475,729 people

For a look at the complete list, visit 247wallst.com