As economic conditions in the country improve, it is not enough to quote national statistics and vague data. Tangible, localized measures often paint a much clearer picture of the recovery across the nation. And one of the best is new jobs growth.
Between November 2010 and October 2011, the biggest cities in the country by population added 443,446 jobs. Unemployment in these 250 cities dropped by 7%, on average, during the period. Of course, some cities are faring much better than others.
Based on the most recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 24/7 Wall St. examined the cities that added and lost the most jobs.
An increase in the total number of new jobs is good news for the economy. It means that the total number of people working is increasing. And if everything else stays the same, the unemployment rate improves. However, if new jobs are added and the total size of the labor force — those employed or looking for work — goes up too, unemployment actually can become worse. However, 24/7 Wall St. found that, in general, the cities that added the most jobs as a percentage of total employed also experienced improved unemployment rate, suggesting a strong relationship between the two.
The unemployment rate in the five cities that added the most jobs as a percentage of total employed dropped. Miami’s 13.6% unemployment rate last year dropped to 11.2% in October of this year, mirroring a 4.2% increase in new jobs, the fifth biggest increase in the country. But it is not always the case. In Jackson, Mississippi, the addition of nearly 2,500 jobs was not enough to offset the climb in its total labor force of 3,000. The unemployment rate in the city worsened from 9.6% to 9.8%.
While cities that are losing jobs should see an increase in their unemployment rate, the relationship is much less consistent. Unemployment will increase when jobs are lost, provided the labor force decreases or remains the same. However, if the number of jobs lost is less than the decrease in the labor force, the unemployment rate can actually rise.
Of the five cities that lost the most jobs, only two saw an increase in unemployment. Surprisingly, the sharpest drop in unemployment was in Vancouver, Washington, a city that lost the fifth most jobs as percentage of the total number of workers. Vancouver lost more than 1,500 jobs, but its labor force decreased by nearly 6,000, mostly from those looking for work. The actual unemployment rate for the city therefore improved.
These are the cities that added and lost the most jobs.