10. El Paso, Tex.
> Change in population: 2.5%
> Population 7/11: 665,568
> Population 4/10: 649,152
> Average annual city unemployment (2011): 9.5%
> Increase in jobs (2010 to 2011): 2,700 (0.97%)
El Paso’s population increased by 16,416 over just 15 months, from April 2010 to July 2011. Job opportunities in the city and its surrounding area also grew at that time, and the city’s unemployment rate was down 0.7% percentage points year-over-year as of May 2012. While the metro region only added a few thousand jobs, the majority came in the leisure and hospitality industries. Perhaps inspired by these developments, the El Paso City Council has recently set forth plans to build a baseball stadium using tax revenue generated by the city’s hospitality industry.
9. Charlotte, N.C.
> Change in population: 2.7%
> Population 7/11: 751,087
> Population 4/10: 731,424
> Average annual city unemployment (2011): 9.2%
> Increase in jobs (2010 to 2011): 19,200 (2.38%)
From 2010 to 2011, Charlotte’s average annual unemployment rate fell from 9.7% to 9.2%. This was in part due to an increase in professional and business services jobs, which accounted for around 8,500 of the 19,200 jobs the Charlotte-Gastonia-Rock Hill MSA added between 2010 and 2011. Charlotte also seemed to have enjoyed a construction boom in recent years. In 2010, 12% of buildings were less than five years old, one of the highest figures among large metro regions in the United States. After a 2.4% price decline from fourth quarter 2010 to fourth quarter 2011 within Charlotte’s MSA, home sales volumes in the area have rebounded strongly — up 14% from June 2011 to June 2012.
8. Washington, D.C.
> Change in population: 2.7%
> Population 7/11: 617,996
> Population 4/10: 601,723
> Average annual city unemployment (2011): 10.2%
> Increase in jobs (2010 to 2011): 28,800 (1.2%)
The Washington, D.C., area added more than 16,000 people between April 2010 and July 2011. However, between 2010 and 2011, the region added 28,800 jobs, a 1.2% increase. As of 2010, it had the wealthiest major metropolitan region in the country, with a median annual household income of $84,523. More than half of households in the region earn at least $100,000 a year, the largest proportion in the country among large MSAs. While home prices fell in most major U.S. cities between the end of 2010 and the end of 2011, Washington’s declined just 0.7%, one of the smallest drops in the country during that time.
7. Atlanta, Ga.
> Change in population: 3%
> Population 7/11: 432,427
> Population 4/10: 420,005
> Average annual city unemployment (2011): 12.1%
> Increase in jobs (2010 to 2011): 28,900 (1.27%)
Though average annual unemployment was extremely high in Atlanta in 2011 at 12.1%, it was actually a significant improvement over 2010 unemployment rate of 12.7%. Additionally, Atlanta’s MSA has experienced significant job growth, adding 28,900 positions between 2010 and 2011. Some 15,400 of these net positions created were in the professional and business services fields. Companies, in these and other fields, that have announced plans to add jobs in the Atlanta area include AT&T (NYSE: T), CBS (NYSE: CBS) and financial technology firm Q2ebanking. The city has also attracted skilled laborers from abroad, with 5,108 individuals receiving H1B visas to work in Atlanta in 2011.
6. Tampa, Fla.
> Change in population: 3.1%
> Population 7/11: 346,037
> Population 4/10: 335,709
> Average annual city unemployment (2011): 11.2%
> Increase in jobs (2010 to 2011): 20,300 (1.8%)
While at the top of the list for its increase in population, Tampa is at the bottom of cities for median income. Of the 68 MSAs included in the study, the Tampa metropolitan area has the fourth-lowest median annual household income of $43,547. It has the second-highest proportion (15.8%) of households with annual income between $35,000 and $49,999. Driving Tampa’s increase in jobs are the leisure and hospitality industries, with a 2.5% increase between 2010 and 2011. One Touch Direct alone has pledged to create 700 jobs in the area. This increase in jobs helped Tampa have the second-largest decrease in unemployment between May 2011 and 2012.