Lindsay Cates Lindsay Cates
Senior Manager, Communications and Strategy, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
Stephanie Ferguson Stephanie Ferguson
Director, Global Employment Policy & Special Initiatives, U.S. Chamber of Commerce


February 13, 2024


America is facing a worker shortage crisis: There are too many open jobs without people to fill them. The interactive map below shows which states are suffering the most from a labor shortage by comparing their Worker Shortage Index ratios.

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The Chamber’s Worker Shortage Index ratio indicates the number of available workers for every job opening. States with a higher ratio have more workers available to fill open jobs. For example, a ratio of 0.39 means a state has just 39 workers for every 100 open jobs. A ratio above 1.0 would indicate a surplus of available workers compared to job openings. 

The Worker Shortage Across America

Explore the interactive map below to see the impact of the worker shortage crisis in each state updated September 2023.

Least severe
More severe
Most severe

Workforce Data Definitions (BLS): 

  • Job Openings: All positions that are unfilled and have available work 
  • Unemployed Workers: People that do not have a job, have looked for work in the last four weeks, and are currently available and able to work 
  • Labor Force Participation Rate: The percentage of the population that is working or actively looking for work 
  • Quit Rate: The number of employees who voluntarily quit as a percent of total employment 
  • Hire Rate: All additions to payroll as a percentage of total employment

MORE: Read in-depth articles on the labor market and business environment in 16 states.

More State-by-State Workforce Analysis 

There is a national worker shortage affecting the nation, and many states are feeling the impact. The vast majority of states have more job openings today than it had before the pandemic, while labor force participation remains below pre-pandemic levels.

The U.S. has lost millions of workers since the start of the pandemic and our national labor force participation rate remains below pre-pandemic levels. The gap equates to 2.1 million workers who have left the workforce since the start of the pandemic in February 2020. 

However there are some states that have a higher percentage of their labor force working than before the pandemic. The vast majority have seen their labor forces shrink because of early retirements, increased savings, less immigration, among other factors.

The U.S. Chamber and U.S. Chamber Foundation are helping employers discover and develop talent through the America Works Initiative. For more information, contact Stephanie Ferguson at

About the authors

Lindsay Cates

Lindsay Cates

Lindsay is a senior manager on the communications and strategy team. She previously worked as a writer and editor at U.S. News and World Report.

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Stephanie Ferguson

Stephanie Ferguson

Stephanie Ferguson is the Director of Global Employment Policy & Special Initiatives. Her work on the labor shortage has been cited in the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and Associated Press.

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