State Employment Population Ratios

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States with the highest employment population ratios tend to be Republican states.[1] The following is a ranking of states by employment population ratio, current as of December 2014, their Democratic advantage according to Gallup,[2] Representatives/Senators in Congress by party,[3] party breakdown in the state legislature,[4] and how they voted in the 2012 presidential election.[5] Ultimately 14 of the 20 states with lowest unemployment rates had Republican advantages according to Gallup polling.

List of States by Employment-Population Ratio

Determination of whether a state is Republican or Democrat is based solely on the Gallup data (Democrat Advantage); the state's ratios for Congress, the state legislature, and 2012 presidential election results are merely provided for informational purposes. For example, Colorado, New Hampshire, Iowa, and Virginia all voted for Obama in 2012 but Gallup polling reveals they are primarily Republican, and thus they are labeled Republican here, particularly since their legislative elections reveal them to be Republican. On the other hand Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin have elected more Republicans at both the state and federal levels than Democrats, but are labeled as Democrat states because Gallup polling shows they have Democrat Advantages. States which could be classified as definite swing states include Colorado, New Hampshire, Ohio, and Wisconsin.

RANK STATE RATE PARTY DEM. ADV. CONGRESS STATE LEG. ROMNEY VOTE OBAMA VOTE
1 North Dakota 69.6% Republican -25% 2/3 R 104/143 R 59% 39%
2 Nebraska 68.8% Republican -16% 4/5 R NP 61% 38%
3 Iowa 67.5% Republican -2% 5/6 R 80/149 R 46% 52%
4 Minnesota 67.4% Democrat 6% 7/10 D 101/201 D 45% 53%
5 South Dakota 67.2% Republican -17% 3/3 R 84/103 R 58% 40%
6 New Hampshire 66.3% Republican -4% 2/4 R 253/424 R 46% 52%
7 Vermont 65.5% Democrat 19% 3/3 D 118/180 D 31% 67%
8T Utah 65.3% Republican -32% 6/6 R 85/104 R 73% 25%
8T Wyoming 65.3% Republican -40% 3/3 R 77/90 R 69% 28%
10 Kansas 65.2% Republican -21% 6/6 R 130/165 R 60% 38%
11T Colorado 65.0% Republican -4% 5/9 R 50/100 R 47% 51%
11T Wisconsin 65.0% Democrat 1% 6/10 R 80/130 R 46% 53%
13 Alaska 63.5% Republican -20% 3/3 R 37/60 55% 41%
14 Virginia 62.5% Republican -1% 8/13 R 89/140 R 48% 51%
15 Maryland 62.2% Democrat 20% 9/10 D 123/188 D 37% 62%
16T Connecticut 61.9% Democrat 16% 7/7 D 108/187 D 40% 58%
16T Texas 61.9% Republican -4% 27/38 R 118/181 R 57% 41%
18 Massachusetts 61.7% Democrat 21% 11/11 D 159/200 D 38% 61%
19T Missouri 61.4% Republican -3% 7/10 R 142/196 R 54% 44%
19T Montana 61.4% Republican -13% 1/2 R 88/150 R 55% 42%
21 Illinois 60.9% Democrat 17% 11/20 D 110/177 D 41% 57%
22 Maine 60.8% Democrat 6% 2/4 D 98/186 D 41% 56%
23T Idaho 60.4% Republican -24% 4/4 R 84/105 R 65% 33%
23T Rhode Island 60.4% Democrat 23% 4/4 D 97/113 D 36% 63%
25 New Jersey 60.3% Democrat 16% 8/14 D 72/120 41% 58%
26 Indiana 60.0% Republican -4% 8/11 R 111/150 54% 44%
27 Ohio 59.8% Democrat 0% 13/18 R 83/132 R 48% 50%
28T Hawaii 59.5% Democrat 24% 4/4 D 67/76 D 28% 71%
28T Washington 59.5% Democrat 7% 8/12 D 75/147 D 42% 56%
30 Pennsylvania 59.1% Democrat 3% 14/20 R 149/253 R 47% 52%
31T California 58.1% Democrat 18% 41/55 D 78/120 D 38% 59%
31T Oklahoma 58.1% Republican -13% 7/7 R 112/149 R 67% 33%
33T Delaware 57.9% Democrat 17% 3/3 D 37/62 D 40% 59%
33T Nevada 57.9% Democrat 3% 4/6 R 38/63 R 46% 52%
35 Oregon 57.7% Democrat 7% 6/7 D 53/90 D 43% 54%
36 Georgia 57.6% Republican -3% 12/16 R 155/234 R 53% 45%
37 Louisiana 57.4% Republican -2% 7/8 R 85/144 58% 41%
38 Florida 56.9% Democrat 5% 18/29 R 103/155 R 49% 50%
39 New York 56.9% Democrat 25% 20/28 D 137/213 36% 63%
40 North Carolina 56.5% Republican -1% 12/15 R 109/170 R 51% 48%
41 Michigan 56.4% Democrat 9% 9/16 R 90/148 R 45% 54%
42 Arizona 55.9% Republican -1% 7/11 R 53/90 R 54% 44%
43T Kentucky 54.6% Democrat 2% 7/8 R 72/135 61% 38%
43T South Carolina 54.6% Republican -10% 8/9 R 103/167 R 55% 44%
43T Tennessee 54.6% Republican -7% 9/11 R 100/132 R 59% 39%
46 New Mexico 54.4% Democrat 11% 4/5 D 58/112 D 43% 53%
47 Arkansas 54.3% Republican -4% 6/6 R 87/134 R 61% 37%
48 Alabama 52.1% Republican -11% 8/9 R 98/129 R 61% 38%
49 Mississippi 50.7% Republican -6% 5/6 R 98/174 R 56% 44%
50 West Virginia 49.6% Democrat 1% 4/5 R 82/134 62% 36%

Notes

  • Nebraska's state legislature is Nonpartisan/Unicameral and thus party breakdown cannot be provided, this is indicated by a value of "NP."
  • Since Independents overwhelmingly caucus as Democrats, they were classified as Democrats when counting Congress/State Legislature ratios. The only state really affected by this was Vermont which had 11 Independents at the state level and 1 at the federal level.
  • A "T" at the end of a rank indicates a tie between states for that rank.

Analysis

Gallup polling generally lines up with how states voted for president in 2012. While states have increasingly become more Republican since 2012, the Gallup polling largely represents the ideology which has governed state employment in recent years, and a state's identity is generally clear. There are two states which should arguably be identified as Republican despite Gallup polling indicating they are narrowly Democrat, Kentucky and West Virginia. According to Gallup they narrowly polled Democrat, with 2% and 1% Democrat advantages respectively, yet both have elected more Republicans to both the state and federal legislature, and voted for Romney in 2012.

I was personally very surprised by how much these rankings differ from state unemployment rate rankings. Some states like Alaska, Hawaii, and California had ranking differences greater than 20. As a result, I am very skeptical of the methodology used in acquiring this state-specific data because it differs so much from the other rankings I have seen.

Sources

  1. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2014, April 18). Civilian Noninstitutional Population and Associated Rate and Ratio Measures for Model-Based Areas. Region, Division, and State Employment-Population Ratios with Confidence Intervals, Their Relationships to the U.S. Ratio, and Over-the-Month Ratio Changes with Significance Indicators United States Department of Labor. <http://www.bls.gov/lau/rdscnp16.htm>
  2. Saad, L. (2014, January 29). Not as Many U.S. States Lean Democratic in 2013. Gallup. <http://www.gallup.com/poll/167030/not-states-lean-democratic-2013.aspx>
  3. Members of Congress: North Dakota. GovTrack.us. <https://www.govtrack.us/congress/members/ND>
  4. Legislative Control 2015. StateScape. <http://www.statescape.com/resources/partysplits/partysplits.aspx>
  5. 2012 Presidential Race. NBC News. <http://elections.nbcnews.com/ns/politics/2012/all/president>