Employment in the states

An interactive visualization of monthly employment in the states by major industry category.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics, part of the United States Department of Labor, gathers data about people and jobs. I’ve gathered some of its data on monthly employment levels in the states and present it in an interactive visualization.

The data in this visualization is from the Current Employment Statistics (CES) program. BLS describes it as “a monthly survey conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. It is a federal and state cooperative program that provides employment, hours, and earnings estimates for states and metropolitan areas based on payroll records of business establishments.” 1 For more information about this data and to access the visualization, click on Visualization: Employment in the states.

The visualization has a table of figures and several charts that show the relative growth of jobs over time. For most charts, you may select the time span, industry category, and states.

One chart, titled “Single State Comparison,” lets you select one state. It then plots that state as one line, and all other states as another line. The nearby example shows this chart with Kansas as the selected state, with data starting in 2010 and ending this February, the last month before the response to the pandemic significantly affected jobs in the United States.

In this chart, you can see Kansas lagging far behind the nation in nonfarm and private-sector employment growth. For state government employees, the trend was downward in the first portion of the last decade, but the trend is rising. Local government employment changed very little.

Example from the visualization. Click for larger.

In another chart showing the growth of nonfarm employment over time, Kansas lags behind in comparison to some nearby states.

Example from the visualization. Click for larger.

For more information about this data and to use the visualization, click on Visualization: Employment in the states.


  1. Bureau of Labor Statistics. State & Area Current Employment Statistics Overview. Available at https://www.bls.gov/sae/overview.htm.

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