Jobs Picture Best in North Dakota and Alaska: The Ticker

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By Mark Whitehouse

If you’re looking for a job, North Dakota or Alaska could be the place to go.

The two states are the only ones in the union where employment has returned to the peaks it reached near the beginning of the recession, according to consultants IHS Global Insight. North Dakota owes its good fortune to oil companies ramping up development of the giant Bakken field. Alaska never saw much of a dip.

IHS's forecasts (see table) suggest Michigan, Nevada and Rhode Island are among the worst places for jobs. The number of employed people in these three states isn’t expected to get back to its previous peak until sometime after 2017. Housing-bust states such as California and Florida aren't supposed to restore their lost jobs until 2016.

Thank in part to the progress amply noted by Governor Rick Perry, Texas should reach its previous employment peak next year. Massachusetts, where Mitt Romney served as governor from 2003 to 2007, can hope for 2013. For New Yorkers, the target date is mid-2013.

It's important to recognize that the forecasts refer only to the number of people employed. States generally have a lot farther to go to get their unemployment rates back down to previous lows, because the employable labor force is constantly growing.

(Mark Whitehouse is a member of the Bloomberg View editorial board)

-0- Nov/14/2011 17:11 GMT