Lawmakers love to praise economic growth in their home territory. Both Republicans and Democrats claim job opportunities and quality of living improve under their governance. But when it comes to hiring employees, who is winning the race? According to some recent studies, red states are in the lead.
Red States Hiring More Than Blue States
Red states, defined as those that have voted for a Republican president in the last two elections, were up 341,000 jobs in July 2022 compared to February 2020, while blue states were short 1.3 million as of May 2022, the Wall Street Journal reported. “The 10 states that gained the most jobs, as a percentage of February 2020 employment, include eight with Republican governors,” the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported. “Of the top 20, 15 have Republican governors.”
How about after the pandemic, which states recovered better? The Wall Street Journal had this to say:
“By many measures, red states — those that lean Republican — have recovered faster economically than Democratic-leaning blue ones, with workers and employers moving from the coasts to the middle of the country and Florida.
“Since February 2020, the month before the pandemic began, the share of all U.S. jobs located in red states has grown by more than half a percentage point, according to an analysis of Labor Department data by the Brookings Institution think tank.”
A prominent Washington news outlet recently released an article that stated: “Of the 17 fastest-hiring states, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 14 voted for Trump in 2020 … The 10 slowest-hiring states all went for Biden.”
Political or Circumstantial?
Why are red states leading the charge in offering their citizens more jobs? Is it political, circumstantial, or a bit of both? Most likely, it’s both. The pandemic, with lockdowns that forced so many small businesses to close, changed America’s dynamics – economically, socially, and politically. People grew tired of self-isolation, keeping their kids home from school, being unable to attend church, and losing wages. All that resulted in COVID migration; people moved to red states where less draconian pandemic measures were in place. “Between February 2021 and February 2022, 46 million Americans moved, the most in a year since 2010,” the Wall Street Journal reported. And, as the Daily Mail pointed out:
“The states that saw the most new residents are Florida, Texas and North Carolina, all three of which went for ex-President Donald Trump in the 2020 election. The states that lost the most taxpayers, California, New York and Illinois, all went for Biden.
“In addition to being Republican, all of the states that gained residents were also states with fewer Covid-19 restrictions, with Florida being the primary example.”
Blue states tend to have larger cities while red states have more rural populations. Democrat-run states lean toward higher paying jobs, higher crime, and higher cost of living, while many red states enjoy lower rents and mortgages but with less pay. The pandemic opened the door for many more remote work opportunities, which meant those in blue states could move to cheaper locations while receiving the same big-city pay. Less traffic, more money, cheaper housing – what’s not to like?
But it’s not just people migrating to red states; several major companies have either moved or are making plans to relocate. For example, Citadel moved from Chicago to Miami, and Caterpillar Inc. from Illinois to Texas.
Some analysts suggest red states aren’t actually hiring more than blue states; instead, they have a higher turnover rate, that is, more quits and hires than their counterparts. This, they say, is because left-leaning areas have more unions with higher paying jobs and employment security. However, as the Washington publication surmised, “The disparity seems rooted in education. The job-turnover gap between Trump and Biden states yawns widest among those with the least education. It closes as worker education rises and completely flips for workers with the highest education: They see more job security in Trump states than in Biden ones.”
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