March 31, 2015

Top 10 Cities & States for Job Growth

TEMPE, Ariz. (March 31, 2015) — Employment growth surged at the national level in 2014, with gains not seen since 2000, the last year of the Clinton administration. This week, the final, revised numbers on state and city job growth for the year 2014 as a whole are out. Research Professor Lee McPheters of the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University provides rankings and analysis of the winners and losers, based on the latest figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Top 10+ cities and surrounding metro areas* for non-agricultural job growth, comparing 2014 to 2013:

  1. San Jose – up 4.5 percent
  2. Riverside – up 4.3 percent
  3. Orlando – up 4.2 percent
  4. Denver – up 3.7 percent (tie)
    Atlanta – up 3.7 percent
  1. Charlotte – up 3.5 percent (four-way tie)
    San Francisco – up 3.5 percent
    Dallas – up 3.5 percent
    Houston – up 3.5 percent
  1. Miami – up 2.6 percent

*1 million or more workers

Top 10 states for non-agricultural job growth, comparing 2014 to 2013:

  1. North Dakota – up 3.8 percent
  2. Nevada – up 3.5 percent
  3. Colorado – up 3.3 percent
  4. Florida – up 3.2 percent
  1. Texas – up 3.1 percent
  2. California – up 3.0 percent (tie)
    Georgia – up 3.0 percent
  1. Utah – up 2.9 percent
  2. Washington – up 2.8 percent (tie)
    Oregon – up 2.8 percent


Overall, the job-growth rate for the United States in 2014 was an increase of 1.9 percent, the fastest pace since the 2.2 percent gain recorded in 2000. The number of jobs added nationwide in 2014 was 2.65 million.

On the state list, North Dakota continues to dominate, having ranked No. 1 for multiple years in a row, largely thanks to its oil and gas production. However, a total of 15 states showed job growth of at least 2 percent in 2014, exceeding the national average.

“With a couple of exceptions, the latest Top 10 state rankings are a reshuffle of the group from the year before,” says McPheters, director of the JPMorgan Chase Economic Outlook Center at the W. P. Carey School of Business. “Georgia and Oregon moved into the Top 10 and Idaho and Arizona dropped out. Arizona, in particular, took a tumble from 10 down to position 16 in the latest rankings. The revised figures show Arizona added about 48,000 new jobs in 2014, a drop from 52,000 the year before.”

The bottom 10 states for 2014 are Missouri, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Mississippi, New Jersey, Maine, Virginia, Alaska and, repeating in last place, West Virginia.

At the bottom of 30 large metro areas for job growth in 2014 were Baltimore, St. Louis, Cleveland, Pittsburgh and Northern Virginia, all growing below 1 percent.

McPheters notes that manufacturing grew by only 1.4 percent nationally, but was up by more 3.6 percent in Michigan, which also added the most new manufacturing jobs (19,800). Construction employment grew by more than 10 percent in Colorado and Nevada. Colorado also led the nation in the rate of growth of new jobs in health care, with an increase of 4.3 percent. California, up 3.9 percent, was in second place.  Washington took first place in the rate of growth of retail jobs, up 3.7 percent.

The full 50-state ranking and other job-growth data from McPheters can be found at the W. P. Carey School of Business Job Growth USA website:

The W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University is one of the top-ranked and largest business schools in the United States. The school is internationally regarded for its research productivity and its distinguished faculty members, including a Nobel Prize winner. Students come from about 100 countries and include about 50 National Merit Scholars. For more information, please visit