So Which Cities are Creating Jobs?

by CoyDavidson on October 18, 2010

Austin, Boston and Dallas Lead in Job Creation

By: Ross Moore, Chief Economist – Colliers International USA

Despite all the gloom and doom surrounding the jobs market, a few cities around the country are now showing positive year-over-year growth. While this group is fairly small, it is growing every month as the economy expands (albeit slowly) and employers feel the need to add to their payrolls. September 2010 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows on a year-over-year basis employment was up 0.3%. A limited number of cities are now showing a modest gain in jobs on an annual basis, however, many are still either showing losses or no change relative to a year ago.

So Who is Leading the Country?

The top three cities for job growth for the year ending August 2010 (metro level data lagged by one month) were Austin, TX (2.5 percent), Boston, MA (1.5 percent) and Dallas/Ft. Worth, TX (1.0 percent). This top three list is probably not a surprise to many particularly the two Texas cities but Boston might be an eye-opener to some. Boston, however, has benefited from a diverse economic base and an economy based on knowledge and learning. At the other end of the spectrum with notable metropolitan areas job losses over the last year include; Reno, Sacramento, Fresno, San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont and Las Vegas. In absolute terms, the August jobs report shows Boston, MA led the nation with 36,600 new jobs created in the past 12 months followed by Dallas, TX (28,700), Washington, DC (20,500), Austin, TX (18,700), and St. Louis, MO (7,500).

No Surge Coming

While it is encouraging to see some cities posting year-over-year gains in jobs, for the vast majority of metropolitan areas employment gains are still a long way off. The past several months have been marked by a loss of jobs at the national level, although if losses in the public sector are ignored the opposite is true. Indeed, private sector employment has now increased month-over-month for the past nine months. While a major surge in nationwide jobs is highly unlikely in the short term, the data suggests that moderate growth is occurring. Hopefully a more robust recovery will prevail and shortly lead to more cities in the plus column than in the negative column.

Ross Moore is the Colliers International’s Chief Economist with a focus on providing bottom-up and top-down analysis of commercial real estate markets across the United States. In addition to his North America wide reports, Ross also authors all global research produced by Colliers.

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