During the Great Recession, states faced enormous challenges related to funding a number of vital programs. One of those programs was adequately financing their unemployment insurance trust funds, a program that originated in the 1930s. As a result of the doggedly high unemployment rates in so many states during the Great Recession and previous actions taken by states (such as expanding unemployment benefits and cutting unemployment insurance taxes), the unemployment insurance funds in a majority of the states were thrust into perilous shape. By 2013, the funding position of these funds improved as a result of an advancing economy and a series of actions initiated by states.

A 2011 study by Deloitte for the Manufacturing Institute found that American manufacturing companies could not fill as many as 600,000 positions—or 5 percent of manufacturing jobs—due to a lack of qualified candidates, and 56 percent of manufacturers anticipate that shortage will increase in the next three to five years. Technological advancements, particularly in the manufacturing area, mean that workers need more specialized skills to both get and keep jobs. To get to those skilled workers, companies must make a decision: Look for new, qualified employees or retrain their current workforce.

The issues state leaders from across the political spectrum can agree on are rare, but the promotion and cultivation of homegrown entrepreneurs might just be one of them. State leaders know entrepreneurs not only create jobs, but also contribute to an increase in wages and standards of living.

According to the Kauffman Index of Entrepreneurial Activity, which tracks new business creation across the U.S., Montana had the highest entrepreneurship rate in 2013 with 610 per 100,000 adults creating businesses each month during the year. Montana is followed by Alaska (470 per 100,000 adults), South Dakota (410 per 100,000 adults), California (400 per 100,000 adults) and Colorado (380 per 100,...

Like many programs, state tourism efforts took a significant hit during the Great Recession. Experts argue, however, that cutting tourism marketing programs can have long-term negative consequences for state economies.

With the end of tax season, CNBC has compiled some interesting graphics related to federal and state taxes. Using data from the Tax Foundation, the Internal Revenue Service and U.S. Treasury Department, the article details where federal and state revenues come from and how they are spent. The top three spending items for the federal government were Health and Human Services, Social Security and Defense. An interactive map of the United States allows users to see several state-level measures, including total taxes paid, average deductions and state tax rates. 

Tennessee joins Iowa and Michigan as being named an "All Star Vet State."  State Department of Veterans Affairs Commissioner Many-Bears Grinder and Department of Labor and Workforce Development Commissioner Burns Phillips showcased their collaborative focus on veteran employment which gained them the coveted title.  As part of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation Hiring Our Heroes initiative this pilot program includes a web-portal designed to assist veterans and active-duty service members around the country quickly access state...

According to a report released yesterday by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group Education Fund (PIRG), Indiana ranks first among states when it comes to  making public spending information available online. Rankings from the group's fifth annual report, “Following the Money 2014: How the 50 States Rate in Providing Online Access to Government Spending Data, are based on an inventory of the content and ease-of-use of states' transparency websites. The report notes that last year was the first time that all 50 states operated websites to make information on state spending accessible to the public.

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The search for more jobs continues to be a high priority in parts of the Midwest suffering from high rates of unemployment. But in states such as North Dakota, Nebraska and South Dakota — which have the three lowest jobless rates in the nation — the hunt is on for more workers.
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A series of high-profile requests by companies wanting special tax breaks from Illinois in order to stay in the state have raised questions about whether the state’s business incentive programs actually result in job and economic growth.
So many questions have emerged, in fact, that lawmakers have agreed not to grant any tax breaks until hearings are held to evaluate the state’s tax environment and the effectiveness of business incentives.

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