This week we sat down with Dr. Ernie Goss, director of the Institute for Economic Inquiry at Creighton University. We asked him to explain work force indexes, and how this number can help employers and jobseekers.
What is a work force index?
The workforce index is the ratio of jobseekers to the number of job openings listed online within each state.
The index is measured between 0 and 100. If a state’s number is above 50, that state has more jobs to offer jobseekers. If it’s below 50, there are more jobseekers than jobs available.
The number is generated by a two factors: the first being job scrapes from AIM’s databases to get to get the number of job openings listed online, and then the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ number of unemployed. That ratio is then calculated for each state.
Who uses them and who would find them helpful?
Goss said businesses that are thinking about expanding or relocating would find this ratio helpful because it shows them how tight each state’s labor market is, or how easy or difficult it will be to find qualified workers.
He went on to say that Individuals who are debating about where to move for work would also find this ratio helpful.
What’s going on this month?
Goss said that Nebraska’s index is pretty strong this month, and remains relatively high because of our low unemployment rate in addition to the high number of job openings listed online.
North Dakota has an even higher index, however Goss suggested that this points to individuals leaving the state to find other work.
Other states with strong indexes include many states in the Midwest including: Minnesota, Iowa, Colorado and Kansas.
States with weaker indexes include: Alaska, Mississippi, Maine and Rhode Island which means they have a high number of jobseekers and not as many job openings listed online.
Goss explained that the workforce index of each state combined with the unemployment rate and other job growth numbers can demonstrate how strong a labor market is, and is a measure of the economic vitality of each state.
Dr. Goss is the director of the Institute for Economic Inquiry and a professor of economics at Creighton University Heider College of Business where he holds the Jack A. MacAllister Chair in Regional Economics. His specialty is making economics understandable and relatable—not just to students, business executives, community leaders and policy makers—but to people from all walks of life.