Best States for Jobs

What are best states for jobs? Those having a lot of vacancies where job seekers enjoy full consideration when applying for a job. I came up with a simple test to find best states for jobs in the US. This article shares my empirical findings.

Finding Best States for Jobs

When you apply for a job, how do you do it? If you do it via the Internet, this creates a huge gap between you and your job: the recruiter who will read your application. This makes the questions of whether or not you qualify for the job secondary to the following one: is this recruiter lazy? If the answer is “yes”, everything else become meaningless. You may have ideal qualifications, but it won’t matter because your resume won’t be read.

The topic of recruiter professionalism can be a subject of a PhD dissertation. Laziness, though, is easily definable. This study defines recruiter laziness as unwillingness to momentarily forgo the immediate comfort zone in order to obtain information. How do you measure that?

I came up with the following idea. Looking for best states for jobs, I sent my resume to a ton of companies all over the USA through careerbuilder.com. In order to get to it the recruiters had to click on the link provided in a brief and polite message. The link would take them to a web-page with a Google Analytics code.

As I said, my main objective was to find out the best states for jobs. For this purpose I sent my resume to the following 17 states (in order of decreasing population): California, Texas, New York, Florida, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Georgia, Virginia, Massachusetts, Arizona, Indiana, Colorado, Connecticut, Iowa, Delaware, and Alaska. They include roughly two thirds of the US population, which makes our investigation relevant to the macro-scale of job search.

The results are presented in Table 1.

Best States for Jobs – Table 1 – Rough data

Date

State

City

Ind. App

Mas. App

Tot. App

27/11

FL

Tampa

10

144

154

FL

Jacksonville

10

143

153

FL

Orlando

10

107

117

FL

Miami

10

56

66

FL

Tallahassee

10

98

108

OH

Cincinnati

10

100

110

28-Nov

IL

Chicago

10

47

57

PA

Philadelphia

10

120

130

NY

NY

1

90

91

NY

Long Island

1

72

73

29-Nov

GA

Various

5

129

134

TX

Various

3

188

191

VA

Various

1

94

95

IA

Various

2

99

101

AZ

Various

1

89

90

PA

Various

1

39

40

MA

Various

1

136

137

NY

Various

1

91

92

VA

Various

1

80

81

CA

Various

1

19

20

IL

Various

1

105

106

IN

Various

1

68

69

AK

Various

1

38

39

3-Dec

CA

Various

3

241

244

13-Dec

CT

Various

1

83

84

CO

Various

1

95

96

DE

Various

1

145

146

The 1st column shows the date when job applications were sent . The 2nd column lists the states (the number of rows exceeds the number of states as I applied to jobs in the same states on several occasions). The 3rd column gives the names of the cities where job applications were sent to (eventually I stopped focusing on particular cities to average the results out). The 4th column shows the number of individual job applications. The 5th column gives the number of applications generated by the “Quick apply” feature.

What jobs was I applying to in each state? Various. I have a degree from an excellent school (Middlebury College), and my GPA is relatively high, so I explored a wide range of positions including: Financial Analyst, Recruitment Generalist, Inside Sales, HR-recruiter, Administrative Assistant, Real Estate Agent, Claims Assistant, Account Manager and Editorial Assistant. I was focusing on jobs a recent college graduate would apply to, except unlike others I would know for a fact if not my application was at least looked at.

Best states for jobs – Table 2 – Grouped data

State

Population

Total Apps

FL

19,000,000

598

CA

38,000,000

264

NY

19,500,000

256

TX

26,000,000

191

PA

12,500,000

170

IL

13,000,000

163

DE

900,000

146

MA

6,500,000

137

GA

10,000,000

134

OH

11,500,000

110

IA

3,000,000

101

CO

5,000,000

96

AZ

6,500,000

90

CT

3,500,000

84

VA

8,000,000

81

IN

6,500,000

69

AK

700,000

39

In this table, the 1st column names the state, the 2nd estimates its population, and the 3rd (by which the table is grouped) shows how many job applications were sent to it. Most of the time the number of applications corresponds with the state population, the more populous states receiving more applications.

After the applications were sent, the most exciting part began: working with Google Analytics.

Table 3 shows us the combination of job application data and Google Analytics data.

Best states for Jobs – Table 3 – Final results

State

Population

Total Apps

Responses

Response-ratio, %

DE

900,000

146

1

0.684932

PA

12,500,000

170

4

2.352941

CT

3,500,000

84

2

2.380952

OH

11,500,000

110

3

2.727273

CA

38,000,000

264

9

3.409091

FL

19,000,000

598

23

3.846154

IL

13,000,000

163

7

4.294479

MA

6,500,000

137

6

4.379562

AZ

6,500,000

90

4

4.444444

TX

26,000,000

191

9

4.712042

VA

8,000,000

81

4

4.938272

GA

10,000,000

134

7

5.223881

IN

6,500,000

69

4

5.797101

NY

19,500,000

256

16

6.25

AK

700,000

39

3

7.692308

CO

5,000,000

96

8

8.333333

IA

3,000,000

101

10

9.90099

Here, the first three columns are Table 2, except they are arranged differently. The 4th column shows the number of times a person from a respective state followed the link to my experimental page. Finally, the 5th column shows the percentage of clicks relative to the number of applications sent to the state. The table is organized by the 5th column, with values ranging from lowest to highest. These percentages embody my take on the question: what are best states for jobs?

Best states for jobs: results

Bad job markets

The absolute outsider is Delaware. 146 applications sent to employers in this state yielded only 1 click on the page, leaving the response-ratio at 0.68%. It is so low I have no logical explanation to it. The simplest one would be to assume that all the lazy recruiters go to Delaware, but it will be unfair. Yet with a ratio of 0.68% you better have some good networking if you are applying in DE, because otherwise your resume may end up unread even if sent to 100 employers.

Pennsylvania and Connecticut yielded close ratios of 2.35% and 2.38% respectively. Ohio gave the ratio of 2.73% on 110 job application. Even more disappointing was the ratio of 3.41% from California. This figure is inadequate for the most populous state in the country, one of those that determine its GDP. What can be said in the region’s defense is that, being a humanitarian, I did not apply for any tech-jobs. It is possible that people applying to IT positions enjoy a better consideration, but with other jobs the ratio is awkwardly low.

The next worst place is Florida’s. It received 598 applications, more than any other state. I fancy Florida’s weather and could move there, but the response-ratio of 3.85% makes such a prospect improbable. Illinois finally takes us above the 4% mark, meaning from now on it will take less than 25 applications before our resume finds a pro. The Chicago-driven state has the response-ratio of 4.29%, opening a dense group of averages. It is followed by 4.38% in Massachusetts, 4.44% in Arizona, 4.71% in Texas and 4.94 in Virginia. These are no best states for jobs either, as they hover around the 17-states average ration of 4.77%.

Better job markets

Georgia is the first state to break the 5% barrier, its response ratio being 5.22%. With these figures we are talking about being able to stumble across a competent recruiter as a result of regular 1.5 hour job application section. 90-100 minutes provide enough time to apply thoughtfully for 20 positions, and this is about how much it takes to find an HR-gem. Indiana is next in line with a solid (by our extraordinarily low standards) 5.8%.

The state of New York falls one place short of the pedestal with its 6.25% response ratio. With a large number of universities located on the East Coast, it is the economic stability of New York State that provides new graduates with adequate professional opportunities. Strong performance by New York State suggests the American economy does have what it takes to steer itself back into prosperity.

Best states for jobs: the pedestal

The triumvirate of leaders is opened by Alaska, with a sudden jump to 7.69% of the response ratio. It should be noted, though, that only 39 applications were sent to this state, as it offers very few vacancies. It is clear that employers in Alaska are willing to pay more attention to their applicants than their colleagues in other parts of the US, likely due to a shortage of labor supply.

The silver medal of our best states for jobs contest goes to Colorado with its 8.33%. With this kind of number you can expect a regular 1.5 hour-long session of application sending to yield you at least two serious interviews, one of them being a worthy career opportunity.

Who is the winner? To my great surprise, the job market of Iowa seems to be among the best in the country as this state produced a whopping 9.9% response ratio. To me this means that the employers in Iowa are desperate to hire; there is no other explanation I have for more than doubling the 17-state average. 10 responses on 101 applications: these are some great chances for a career. If you ever thought about moving to Iowa, this might be quite the time. If not, you might want to start thinking about it.

Here is an easy illustrative summary of our findings.

The blue line connects the response ratios for the selected 17 states, showing their progression from the lowest (DE) to the highest (IA) in % points. The flat green line in the middle shows the average 17-states response ratio of 4.77%.

Best states for jobs: conclusion

What exactly do these numbers mean? The response ratio, the cornerstone of our investigation, is not the percentage of responses received from the employers: it is the ratio of people on the other side of a job who took an extra effort to get to a candidate’s application. In this light, our findings suggest that if you apply for a job in these 17 states, you run a >95% chance of sending your application to a lazy recruiter. Sure, you are unlikely to make them click any links, but if you get a recruiter who does not take an extra effort on their own job, chances are they will not match you with your own one.

Best states for jobs: miscellaneous

Some other interesting findings of my best states for jobs project had nothing to do with the job market in America. The day after I started, I noticed my target page received several visits from various places in India. Then it got a bunch of visits from Great Britain. I figured it out only as I was clearing the spam folder of the page’s site. It had several threads from dubious English websites advertising online gambling and fashion clothing. It seems a lot of English crooks rely on American job sites for their machinations, possibly owing to the fact that the American dollar remains good money even in their homeland.

If as a result of sending job applications on the Internet you start getting e-mails from people who want to offer you thousands of dollars for an in-house job, be careful. If you are asked to money-transfer, through Moneygram and such, you are dealing with thieves. No one will hire you for anything real before having met you in person.

Best of luck finding best states for jobs!

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