State Employment Differences Amplified by COVID-19

Across the U.S., state employment differences are often reflective of a variety of factors. Some of these factors are broad in scope, and others may be distinctly local. For example, components that may influence the growth or decline of employment in a specific industry sector may include:

  • Economic policies
  • Trade agreements
  • Favorable climate/weather
  • Local investment
  • Presence of natural resources

Over time, and if industries are successful, they may take an outsize role within a state. The automotive industry is an example of this type of impact. This industry has grown so large that its health impacts the states with automotive manufacturing facilities. The state of Michigan ranks as the #1 state for automotive manufacturing. As a result, the industry is often at the center of discussions about the state’s economy.

Comparison of Two State Employment Differences Resulting from COVID-19

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S., employment has seen dramatic shifts. State employment differences reflect the concentration of various industries across states. For job seekers in the current job market, researching specific industries may help determine places with employment opportunities.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics publishes several reports on the labor market. The State Employment and Unemployment Summary reports on state employment differences. The period from March to April 2020 shows the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the labor market by state. Interestingly, the data shows a significant difference across many states. The preliminary measures from March to April range from a low of 4.3 point increase in unemployment, to a high of 21.3 point increase. The two states at these ends of the spectrum reflect the impact of industry concentration within a state.


The state of Nebraska March to April 2020 increase is the smallest of the 50 states, at only 4.3 points.

Nebraska Unemployment Rate

March 2020 April 2020 Change Month to Month
4.0 8.3 4.3

While Nebraska has an agricultural history, economic diversification has lessened the impact of one industry on the state’s employment performance. Currently Nebraska’s largest industries include:

  • Insurance and Financial Services
  • Manufacturing across Several Industry Sectors
  • Agriculture including Livestock, Corn, and Feed
  • Transportation including Rail and Trucking
  • Services including Healthcare, Data Processing, and Law Firms

All of these industries add to the state’s economic diversification and growth. As a result, no specific industry has an outsize influence across Nebraska. The impact of COVID-19 with respect to state employment differences are likely to be spread across several industries in Nebraska. Additionally, the Nebraska city of Curtis is looking to attract residents to become homeowners and landowners.


The state of Nevada March to April 2020 increase is the largest of the 50 states, at 21.3 points.

Nevada Unemployment Rate

March 2020 April 2020 Change Month to Month
6.9 28.2 21.3

Nevada’s economic performance hinges in large part on the state’s tourism industry. Within this industry, the most important sectors are gaming/gambling, hospitality, and leisure. Gambling taxes are a primary source of the state’s revenue.

While gaming/gambling comprise the largest industry in the state, other industries include:

  • Mining, with Nevada as the Leading Producer of Gold and Silver in the U.S.
  • Agriculture including Cattle and Sheep
  • Manufacturing, mostly Small Businesses

However, Nevada’s service industries concentrated in tourism account for nearly a third of the state’s total gross product.

COVID-19 Impact on State Employment Differences

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19 include avoiding close contact with other people. Industries that require workers to be near other people are more heavily impacted by COVID-19. Also, various “stay at home” directives dramatically reduced the flow of tourists to cities like Las Vegas. The state of Nevada has borne the brunt of these types of restrictions due to the outsize influence of tourism, gaming/gambling, and hospitality upon its economy. State employment differences between Nebraska and Nevada show how industry diversification can benefit an economy from outside shocks.

What Should Job Seekers do About State Employment Differences?

Job seekers should review how state employment differences reflect the local economy’s diversification of industries. States with diverse economies are less likely to face significant issues due to shocks to their economy such as COVID-19.

Job seekers should also consider utilizing robust career services. These services will also help them leverage online tools to enhance their personal brand and increase their success in the job market. GMS Global Career Services available for job seekers include a number of helpful resources. A Career Services Intake will identify the job seeker’s needs, questions, and goals. As a result, GMS Global Career Services will be able to create a unique plan for their job search.


GMS’ team of global relocation experts has helped thousands of our clients develop hiring and recruiting programs to attract qualified new hires. As a result, our team can use GMS Global Career Services to help job seekers find and access these programs in the states and industries that match their goals.

GMS was the first relocation company to register as a .com. The company also created the first online interactive tools and calculators, and revolutionized the entire relocation industry. GMS continues to set the industry pace as the pioneer in innovation and technology solutions with its proprietary MyRelocation® technology platform.

Contact our experts online to discuss how state employment differences may impact your job search, or give us a call at 800.617.1904 or 480.922.0700 today.