Basically, 72% of all job growth since the recession in 2009 has been in large cities and largely due to growth in the tech sector.(1) Going forward, the Bureau of Labor Statistics sees the healthcare sector as leading in job growth — although that growth may be contingent on how long the Baby Boom generation lives.
Smaller and rural communities haven’t seen this growth. Tech jobs go where a large pool of trained employees exist. Healthcare jobs go where a large pool of elderly exist. Small towns and rural areas don’t factor in either calculation.
Having access to these jobs requires education. Despite the rare kid who jumps from high school to professional sports or starts a major company in a garage — and the odds of either are on a par with a winning lottery ticket — there is no future for high school dropouts and only a limited future for those whose education stops with a high school diploma.
That’s why it should be a concern that the states with the largest proportion of their population in poverty are also the ones with the weakest education systems. You can’t get out of poverty without skills.
The states on top in education are those also on top with jobs and median household income: Massachusetts, New Jersey, Vermont, Connecticut, and New Hampshire.While there’s some variation, Massachusetts and New Jersey are #1 and #2 on all lists.
On the bottom: New Mexico, Louisiana, Idaho, Mississippi and Nevada. Again, there’s some variation, but Nevada is typically recognized as the worse. With low teacher pay, the have 500 teaching positions empty this school year and up to 70 students in some classes — and that’s in the Clark County (Las Vegas) School District.