Best (And Worst) States To Find An Educated Workforce In 2018

Where The Talented Workers Are‚ÄďAnd Aren't

With the economy working at nearly full capacity and unemployment approaching record lows (3.9 percent in August, the lowest since 2000), the biggest challenge for solution providers today is finding and hiring the technical, managerial and sales employees they need just to meet their current needs, let alone support a company's growth.

As part of the CRN 2018 Best States to Start a Solution Provider Business analysis, we've ranked the states according to the overall education and experience levels of their available workforce. The analysis includes such data as a state's tech industry job gains and the percent of a state's workforce with bachelor's and advanced degrees. It also considered state education rankings in surveys by CNBC America's Top States for Business 2018 and WalletHub's Most Educated States.

The following are the 10 states with the highest rankings for educated and experienced workers, listed from No. 10 to No. 1. The states with the lowest rankings are then listed from No. 41 to No. 50. Keep in mind that the states with the best talent may also be among the most expensive states to do business in, have higher taxes, have more solution providers to compete with and other negative characteristics.

Best States No. 10: Minnesota

In Minnesota, 35.6 percent of the labor force has a four-year college degree (No. 13) and 11.8 percent of residents over 25 have an advanced degree (No. 17).

The technology industry employs 225,800 people in Minnesota, ranking it No. 10 among all states.

The North Star State added 3,505 net tech jobs in 2017.

Minnesota was ranked No. 5 in education by CNBC and No. 8 by WalletHub.

Best States No. 9: Maryland

In Maryland, 44.6 percent of the labor force has a four-year college degree (No. 2) and 17.7 percent of residents over 25 have an advanced degree (No. 2).

The technology industry employs 184,100 people in Maryland, ranking it No. 16 among all states.

The Old Line State added 2,152 net tech jobs in 2017.

Maryland was ranked No. 20 in education by CNBC and No. 2 by WalletHub.

Best States No. 8: Washington

In Washington, 37.2 percent of the labor force has a four-year college degree (No. 11) and 12.5 percent of residents over 25 have an advanced degree (No. 13).

The technology industry employs 232,900 people in Washington, ranking it No. 9 among all states.

The Evergreen State added 10,245 net tech jobs in 2017.

Washington was ranked No. 12 in education by CNBC and No. 9 by WalletHub.

Best States No. 7: New Jersey

In New Jersey, 43.9 percent of the labor force has a four-year college degree (No. 3) and 14.3 percent of residents over 25 have an advanced degree (No. 8).

The technology industry employs 216,100 people in New Jersey, ranking it No. 11 among all states.

The Garden State added 2,659 net tech jobs in 2017.

New Jersey was ranked No. 7 in education by CNBC and No. 10 by WalletHub.

Best States No. 6: New Hampshire

In New Hampshire, 37.8 percent of the labor force has a four-year college degree (No. 10) and 13.7 percent of residents over 25 have an advanced degree (No. 9).

The technology industry employs 42,000 people in New Hampshire, ranking it No. 33 among all states.

The Granite State added 876 net tech jobs in 2017.

New Hampshire was ranked No. 2 in education by CNBC and No. 7 by WalletHub.

Best States No. 5: Connecticut

In Connecticut, 41.9 percent of the labor force has a four-year college degree (No. 5) and 16.7 percent of residents over 25 have an advanced degree (No. 3).

The technology industry employs 75,900 people in Connecticut, ranking it No. 25 among all states.

The Constitution State added 1,061 net tech jobs in 2017.

Connecticut was ranked No. 9 in education by CNBC and No. 3 by WalletHub.

Best States No. 4: Virginia

In Virginia, 41.6 percent of the labor force has a four-year college degree (No. 7) and 15.7 percent of residents over 25 have an advanced degree (No. 4).

The technology industry employs 292,100 people in Virginia, ranking it No. 6 among all states.

The Old Dominion State added 3,891 net tech jobs in 2017.

Virginia was ranked No. 6 in education by CNBC and No. 6 by WalletHub.

Best States No. 3: Colorado

In Colorado, 41.8 percent of the labor force has a four-year college degree (No. 6) and 14.5 percent of residents over 25 have an advanced degree (No. 7).

The technology industry employs 199,600 people in Colorado, ranking it No. 14 among all states.

The Centennial State added 6,529 net tech jobs in 2017.

Colorado was ranked No. 11 in education by CNBC and No. 5 by WalletHub.

Best States No. 2: New York

In New York, 42.6 percent of the labor force has a four-year college degree (No. 4) and 15.0 percent of residents over 25 have an advanced degree (No. 5).

The technology industry employs 382,300 people in New York, ranking it No. 3 among all states.

The Empire State added 10,368 net tech jobs in 2017.

New York was ranked No. 3 in education by CNBC and No. 12 by WalletHub.

Best States No. 1: Massachusetts

In Massachusetts, 49.0 percent of the labor force has a four-year college degree (No. 1) and 18.4 percent of residents over 25 have an advanced degree (No. 1).

The technology industry employs 307,200 people in Massachusetts, ranking it No. 5 among all states.

The Bay State added 8,126 net tech jobs in 2017.

Massachusetts was ranked No. 1 in education by CNBC and No. 1 by WalletHub.

Worst States No. 41: Idaho

In Idaho, 29.0 percent of the labor force has a four-year college degree (No. 42) and 8.2 percent of residents over 25 have an advanced degree (No. 42).

The technology industry employs 33,400 people in Idaho, ranking it No. 36 among all states.

The Gem State added 1,410 net tech jobs in 2017.

Idaho was ranked No. 40 in education by CNBC and No. 37 by WalletHub.

Worst States No. 42: New Mexico

In New Mexico, 27.1 percent of the labor force has a four-year college degree (No. 46) and 12.1 percent of residents over 25 have an advanced degree (No. 14).

The technology industry employs 46,900 people in New Mexico, ranking it No. 30 among all states.

The Land of Enchantment state lost 318 net tech jobs in 2017.

New Mexico was ranked No. 44 in education by CNBC and No. 41 by WalletHub.

Worst States No. 43: Kentucky

In Kentucky, 29.1 percent of the labor force has a four-year college degree (No. 40) and 9.7 percent of residents over 25 have an advanced degree (No. 33).

The technology industry employs 49,200 people in Kentucky, ranking it No. 29 among all states.

The Bluegrass State lost 55 net tech jobs in 2017.

Kentucky was ranked No. 39 in education by CNBC and No. 45 by WalletHub.

Worst States No. 44: Alabama

In Alabama, 28.1 percent of the labor force has a four-year college degree (No. 43) and 8.8 percent of residents over 25 have an advanced degree (No. 40).

The technology industry employs 80,200 people in Alabama, ranking it No. 24 among all states.

The Yellowhammer State added 1,130 net tech jobs in 2017.

Alabama was ranked No. 47 in education by CNBC and No. 46 by WalletHub.

Worst States No. 45: Arkansas

In Arkansas, 27.4 percent of the labor force has a four-year college degree (No. 44) and 7.8 percent of residents over 25 have an advanced degree (No. 49).

The technology industry employs 27,200 people in Arkansas, ranking it No. 38 among all states.

The Natural State added 506 net tech jobs in 2017.

Arkansas was ranked No. 42 in education by CNBC and No. 47 by WalletHub.

Worst States No. 46: Nevada

In Nevada, 26.1 percent of the labor force has a four-year college degree (No. 48) and 8.1 percent of residents over 25 have an advanced degree (tied at No. 43).

The technology industry employs 31,400 people in Nevada, ranking it No. 37 among all states.

The Silver State added 1,419 net tech jobs in 2017.

Nevada was ranked No. 50 in education by CNBC and No. 44 by WalletHub.

Worst States No. 47: Oklahoma

In Oklahoma, 30.0 percent of the labor force has a four-year college degree (No. 36) and 8.1 percent of residents over 25 have an advanced degree (tied at No. 43).

The technology industry employs 35,800 people in Oklahoma, ranking it No. 34 among all states.

The Sooner State lost 787 net tech jobs in 2017.

Oklahoma was ranked No. 48 in education by CNBC and No. 42 by WalletHub.

Worst States No. 48: West Virginia

In West Virginia, 26.8 percent of the labor force has a four-year college degree (No. 47) and 7.9 percent of residents over 25 have an advanced degree (tied at No. 46).

The technology industry employs 15,300 people in West Virginia, ranking it No. 43 among all states.

The Mountain State lost 265 net tech jobs in 2017.

West Virginia was ranked No. 41 in education by CNBC and No. 49 by WalletHub.

Worst States No. 49: Louisiana

In Louisiana, 27.3 percent of the labor force has a four-year college degree (No. 45) and 8.0 percent of residents over 25 have an advanced degree (No. 45).

The technology industry employs 45,700 people in Louisiana, ranking it No. 31 among all states.

The Pelican State lost 1,256 net tech jobs in 2017, the most of any state.

Louisiana was ranked No. 46 in education by CNBC and No. 48 by WalletHub.

Worst State No. 50: Mississippi

In Mississippi, 24.3 percent of the labor force has a four-year college degree (No. 50) and 7.9 percent of residents over 25 have an advanced degree (tied at No. 46).

The technology industry employs 21,000 people in Mississippi, ranking it No. 39 among all states.

The Magnolia State lost 309 net tech jobs in 2017.

Mississippi was ranked No. 43 in education by CNBC and No. 50 by WalletHub.