Getting back to work: A state-by-state analysis

A recently released report by IHS Global Insight shows how far away U.S. states are from peak employment and the distance each one must travel to reach pre-recession job levels. According to U.S. regional economist Steven Frable of IHS Global, only four states have been able to reach or surpass their previous employment peaks. All four are beneficiaries of the current energy boom: Alaska, North Dakota, Texas and Louisiana. Some states, though -- notably New York -- are less than 1% away from reaching peak employment.

Other states have a long way to go, according to the analysis: 16 states still have fewer than 95% of their pre-recession job levels. Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Michigan, Rhode Island and Nevada are behind previous peaks by 7% or more.

Frable expects almost half of the United States to achieve peak employment in 2012 to 2013, while the other half will not recover until 2014 and later. Nevada, Michigan and Rhode Island will not recover until past 2017.

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