(Reuters) - The private sector has added jobs in almost every U.S. state over the last year, reaping the bounties of commodity booms and growth in technology and manufacturing, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce said on Wednesday.
The strength is concentrated in the Great Plains and Western Mountain regions, the national business group said in its annual report on states’ economies.
By the end of 2011, North Dakota, Wyoming, Alaska, Utah, Texas and Montana had each experienced more than 8 percent job growth over the past decade, the Chamber of Commerce said.
“Another 22 had shown some, although less robust, employment increases compared to 2001,” the report said. “More important still, nearly every state enjoyed some overall private-sector job growth between January 2011 and January 2012.”
In particular, new forms of energy production, such as the politically divisive extraction process known as “fracking,” and increasing demand for agriculture built up demand for workers, the Chamber of Commerce said.
In its ranking of top economic performers, the Chamber put North Dakota first. The recession hardly affected the state, which has had the lowest unemployment rate in the country due to its steadily increasing energy production. North Dakota also took the top spot on the Chamber’s list of top 10 “future boom states.”
Wyoming, an extraction behemoth, came in second for economic performance. Oil giants Alaska and Texas came in fourth and fifth, with farming state Iowa in ninth place.
Neighbors Virginia and Maryland, which both abut the nation’s capital, also made the top 10.
Virginia was third for economic performance, mainly after adding professional-services and computer-systems jobs. Maryland, which the Chamber of Commerce called “one of the nation’s high-tech centers,” came in fifth, after experiencing heavy growth in management and technology jobs over the last decade.
Factories helped South Dakota come in at No. 7.
Manufacturing has been South Dakota’s strongest sector since 2001, the report said. “The state has seen significant growth in chemicals, machinery, fabricated metals and transportation equipment.”
Even though it was at the epicenter of the financial crisis, New York rounded out the top 10, largely because of income growth in various finance sectors, the Chamber of Commerce said.
President Barack Obama has come under heat recently for saying the private sector is “just fine,” and for pushing Congress to send support to the ailing public sector.
Since January, monthly employment gains have weakened. Nonfarm payroll employment only grew by 69,000 in May - with increases only in the private sector. Healthcare, transportation and warehousing, and wholesale trade led May’s gains, while government workforces lost 13,000 jobs that month, according to the labor department.
Reporting By Lisa Lambert in Washington; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn