Wisconsin reached new heights in job growth under Gov. Scott Walker in May, according to preliminary estimates released Friday.

The state added 45,900 private-sector jobs in the 12-month period ending in May, a 1.85 percent growth that ranked 20th in the country.

It was Wisconsin's highest ranking in yearly job growth since November 2010, two months before Walker took office.

Wisconsin was one of only seven states that hadn't appeared in the top 20 of the rankings in the previous 65 months; the others were Alabama, Maine, Mississippi, New Mexico, Rhode Island and Vermont.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics on Friday released preliminary, seasonally adjusted estimates for state job totals for May. The figures are based on a sample of a small number of employers and often are revised later.

Wisconsin climbed the rankings thanks to the addition of 9,700 private-sector jobs between April and May, according to the Current Employment Statistics program.

Growth in two state sectors stood out: Trade jobs grew by 4,800 (1.1 percent), while leisure and hospitality employers added 3,300 jobs (1.2 percent).

( See job growth by sector on our interactive graphic. )

Wisconsin's unemployment rate dropped to 4.2 percent in May, its lowest level since March 2001.

Here's how Wisconsin compared to other states in 12-month job growth in recent months: