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Top 5 States for Job Growth in 2014

A weak December jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics not withstanding, 2014 is poised to be the year for job growth in the United States, according to Moody's Analytics. Of course, even if the economy does generate the 2.6 million jobs predicted, those gains won't be felt equally in every state.

Texas 

(Photo Credit: StuSeeger/freedigitalphotos.net)

The predictions are best for the west and south, according to Pamela M. Prah. Writing for Stateline, the news service of the Pew Charitable Trusts, Prah says:

"The job outlook is particularly rosy for states in the West: Arizona, Colorado, Oregon, Idaho and Utah are five of the 10 states Moody’s expects to have the highest growth rates. Steady home construction, robust investment in high tech and the aerospace industry, and trade with Asia are the reasons why."

Prah also notes that that the jobless rates vary by less than one point from region to region. Steven G. Cochrane, managing director of Moody's Analytics, says that this pattern hasn't been seen since the beginning of the recession in 2008.

Moody's predicts that the top states for job growth will be:

1. North Dakota, 3.57 percent

2. Arizona, 3.08 percent

3. Texas, 2.75 percent

4. Colorado, 2.67 percent

5. Florida, 2.34 percent

Across the country, health care and construction top the list of fastest growing jobs -- although as with the top states, it's important to remember that "fastest growing" doesn't mean "most." For example, construction jobs might be growing fastest because construction was at a low during the recession, and North Dakota's projected 3.57 percent growth isn't an indicator that people around the country should start thinking about moving to Fargo, with confidence that jobs will be awaiting them.

It is, however, good to see job numbers trending up -- hopefully, wages will follow. The PayScale Index predicts a 0.2 percent growth in wages for the first quarter of 2014.

Quarterly Compensation Trends for National (US)
The PayScale Index uses 2006 average total cash compensation as a baseline.
National (US)

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