If you're in the market for a new job, looking at companies in California and New York may seem like an obvious choice, as both states are known for their talent pools. But exploring options outside those hubs could be more strategic--and lucrative.

States like Texas, Illinois, and Georgia are seeing a boost in hiring thanks in part to Inc. 5000 companies like Atlanta's appliance-recycling business Recleim and the Austin-based delivery startup Favor, which, respectively, added 170 and 96 new employees from 2014 to 2017. Inc. examined this year's list--which tallies the fastest-growing private companies in America--and found that Southern and Midwestern states added thousands of jobs to the workforce between 2014 and 2017.

Recruiting and retaining talent is a dominant issue for most businesses these days, as the unemployment rate continues to drop while the number of open positions increases. Meaning that it's a job seeker's market and companies are scrambling to hire the best candidates as quickly as possible.

To be sure, data from the Inc. 5000 does not represent hiring trends en masse. Information encompassing the 5,000 fastest-growing private companies in the U.S. is but a fragment of the businesses and startups operating in the country. But it is illustrative of what the country's fast-moving private companies are doing to fuel their growth.

Don't mess with ...

While states in the South and Midwest aren't known as start-up hot spots, they do offer a variety of incentives to prospective employees or companies looking for a home. Texas, for example, promotes its live music scene, sunny weather, and lack of corporate or state income tax.

The state of Texas saw the second-biggest increase in jobs from Inc. 5000 companies, trailing California. Between 2014 and 2017, the 421 Inc. 5000 companies in the Lone Star State added more than 40,000 jobs. California's Inc. 5000 companies added more than 252,000 jobs, but California boasts 743 companies on this year's list. 

Austin-based Favor (No. 138) contributed to the Texas bump. The startup, which delivers take out and performs errands for customers and booked $29.2 million in revenue last year, added 96 jobs between 2014 and 2017, according to Inc. 5000 data.

Don't call them 'flyover' states

Meanwhile, Georgia touts its more than 70 colleges and universities as a talent pipeline for companies, while some Illinois firms offer perks like tuition assistance and English-as-a-second-language programs to attract talent.

Atlanta's Recleim, No. 101, with $36.1 million in 2017 revenue, added 170 jobs between 2014 and 2017, according to Inc. 5000 data. That's impressive growth for a company that launched in 2012--and had a pretty hair-raising introduction to the business--but it's just a fraction of the jobs that Inc. 5000 companies in Georgia added over that term, which exceeded 40,000. The Peach State ranked fourth on the list of states in job growth between 2014 and 2017 thanks to Inc. 5000 companies, 

Midwestern states Illinois and Michigan--respectively, eighth and ninth on the list of states in which Inc. 5000 companies added the most jobs from 2014 to 2017--are getting some help from Stanford. The prestigious university launched its first USA MBA Fellowship last year for up to three students who can prove a connection to the Midwest. In exchange for covering the $160,000 for tuition and fees, the students must return to the area "in a professional role that contributes to the region's economic development" within two years of graduating.

With this kind of growth, the term "flyover" state may become a thing of the past.

10. Maryland -- 14,741 jobs

9. Michigan -- 16,534 jobs

8. Illinois -- 19,349 jobs

7. Virginia -- 20,952 jobs

6. New Jersey -- 22,987 jobs

5. Georgia -- 25,964 jobs 

4. New York -- 38,132 jobs 

3. Florida -- 38,797 jobs

2. Texas -- 40,764 jobs 

1. California -- 252,891 jobs

Published on: Aug 15, 2018