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While economy-watchers fret about the likelihood of higher interest rates impacting the stock market and overall growth, the nation’s unemployment rate is at a seven year low and labor markets are on pace to add three million jobs this year. A handful of states and a collection of large metro areas are creating new jobs faster than others, however. 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 job-growth numbers for the first three quarters of 2015 from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Top 10 cities and surrounding metro areas (1 million or more workers), for non-agricultural job growth — comparing January through September of this year to the same nine months last year:
1. San Jose – up 5.5 percent
2. Orlando – up 4.1 percent
3. Riverside, CA – up 3.9 percent
4. Dallas – up 3.6 percent
5. Seattle – up 3.5 percent
6. Atlanta – up 3.4 percent
7. San Francisco – up 3.3 percent
8. Denver – up 3.1 percent
San Diego – up 3.1 percent
Portland, OR – up 3.1 percent (3-way tie)
Top 10 states for non-agricultural job growth — comparing January through September of this year to the same nine months last year:
1. Utah – up 4.1 percent
2. Washington – up 3.5 percent
Florida – up 3.5 percent (tie)
4. Oregon – up 3.3 percent
5. Nevada – up 3.2 percent
6. Idaho – up 3.0 percent
California – up 3.0 percent (tie)
8. South Carolina – up 2.9 percent
9. Georgia – up 2.8 percent
10. North Carolina – up 2.7 percent
The United States has added nearly three million jobs so far this year. The monthly average from January through September was 2.2-percent job growth nationwide. That pace is up from last year at this time, when we saw an overall year-to-date increase of 1.8 percent, so labor markets have picked up steam in 2015.
On the state list, North Dakota, holder of the No. 1 spot every year since 2009, has dropped down to position 32 as oil and gas production has declined. Utah leads the nation in job growth for the first three quarters. The Beehive state is in a class by itself, with job creation of more than four percent. Next in the rankings are Washington, Florida, Oregon, Nevada, Idaho and California, all growing by at least three percent.
"Unlike prior years when the energy sector was booming, construction is the new job growth driver” says McPheters, director of the JPMorgan Chase Economic Outlook Center at the W. P. Carey School of Business. “On the services side, health care is a source of new jobs.”
The bottom 10 states through the first three quarters are Mississippi, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Montana, Maine, Louisiana, Wyoming, Alaska and West Virginia. All of these states have employment growth of less than one percent so far this year, and last-place West Virginia has lost jobs compared to a year ago.
One third of all jobs created in the U.S. through three quarters come from just three states: California (474,000), Texas (296,000) and Florida (269,000).
On the top 10 cities list, San Jose holds the No. 1 position with 4.7-percent job growth, more than double the national pace, followed by Riverside and Orlando, both with growth exceeding four percent. All remaining cities in the top 10 report employment growth of better than three percent.
Of the 30 large labor markets with one million or more workers, four have job creation of less than one percent. These are St. Louis, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, and Northern Virginia.
The full rankings and other job-growth data from McPheters can be found at the W. P. Carey School of Business Job Growth USA website. Use the “year to date” function for the current 2015 numbers.