Looking for more job opportunities and higher earnings growth? Well, keep reading…and start packing.

A recent report in the Wall Street Journal indicates that 8 of the top 10 states with the highest earnings growth from 2016-2017 are in the West – and the leader is likely a surprise:


  1. Idaho
  2. Washington
  3. Arizona
  4. Utah
  5. Colorado
  6. Nevada
  7. California
  8. Oregon
  9. Georgia
  10. North Carolina

Similarly, Forbes has reported that 7 of the top 10 states for future job growth are also in the West:

  1. Nevada
  2. Florida
  3. Utah
  4. Arizona
  5. Oregon
  6. Idaho
  7. Washington
  8. Colorado
  9. South Carolina
  10. Georgia

Not surprisingly, several states are on both lists. A larger number of new jobs increases the demand for labor, and as employers compete for available talent, earnings levels often grow as a result. These data suggest that these positive (for job seekers!) trends are likely to continue, at least in the near term.

Although national growth in employment continues, it appears that the Western states are outpacing the rest of the country in terms of earnings growth and projected growth in employment opportunities.

Here’s where this ties back to recruiting: If you’re flexible about where you live, you’re likely to find more job opportunities and receive faster salary growth in the Western states.

Many of us are not able to relocate easily for a variety of reasons, and that’s totally understandable. But if you can be open to considering the right opportunity in a new area, you’re likely to have more career options and receive faster earnings growth than those who are less flexible.

You do have a career plan, right? Good. Now think about how geographic flexibility could factor into your plan and pave the way to achieving some of your objectives more quickly. More job opportunities and faster salary growth can’t hurt anyone’s plan. Tie that into the 10-15% earnings increase you’re likely to receive when changing jobs outlined in last week’s blog, and we may have something here…

So, if you’re thinking about your next career move and are flexible about considering a new area, follow the advice often attributed to Horace Greeley’s 1865 editorial: Go West (Job Seekers)!