America’s Labor Shortage

(Source /US Chamber November 2022)

Every state is facing an unprecedented challenge finding workers to fill open jobs. Learn which states have been impacted the most by the nation’s worker shortage crisis.

America is facing a worker shortage crisis: There are too many open jobs without people to fill them. The interactive map below shows which states are suffering the most from a labor shortage by comparing their Worker Shortage Index ratios.  

The Chamber’s Worker Shortage Index ratio indicates the number of available workers for every job opening. States with a higher ratio have more workers available to fill open jobs—although every state is currently experiencing a shortage. For example, a ratio of 0.39 means a state has just 39 workers for every 100 open jobs. A ratio above 1.0 would indicate a surplus of available workers compared to job openings. 

Workforce Data Definitions (BLS): 

  • Job Openings: All positions that are unfilled and have available work 
  • Unemployed Workers: People that do not have a job, have looked for work in the last four weeks, and are currently available and able to work 
  • Labor Force Participation Rate: The percentage of the population that is working or actively looking for work 
  • Quit Rate: The number of employees who voluntarily quit as a percent of total employment 
  • Hire Rate: All additions to payroll as a percentage of total employment 

More State-by-State Workforce Analysis 

There is a national worker shortage affecting the nation, and many states are feeling the impact. The vast majority of states have more job openings today than it had before the pandemic, while labor force participation remains below pre-pandemic levels.  

The U.S. has lost millions of workers since the start of the pandemic. The national labor force participation rate still lags about one percentage point below pre-pandemic levels. That equates to around 3 million workers who have left the workforce since the start of the pandemic in February 2020. 

Oregon, Colorado, South Dakota, and Illinois are the only states that have a higher percentage of their labor force working than before the pandemic. The vast majority have seen their labor forces shrink because of early retirements, increased savings, less immigration, among other factors.