The Great Recession has affected nearly every person in the United States. But the recovery has fared better in some parts of the country than others. 24/7 Wall St. looked at the 10 metropolitan areas with the largest employment growth between June 2009, near the peak of the recession, and June 2012.
Of the 10 metros on our list, four are located in Texas. The Lone Star state generally fared better than much of the country during the recession, at least partially because the housing crisis didn’t hit it as hard. Notably, lending standards for mortgages were more strict than in other parts of the country, Alec Friedhoff, a research analyst with the Brookings Institute, told 24/7 Wall St. Texas was also helped by a recent boom in natural gas, creating jobs both directly in the energy sector and indirectly in supporting and related industries such as transportation.
Some of the job growth data should be considered skeptically, especially in smaller metropolitan including some on this list, Milken Institute Senior Economist Armen Bedroussian told 24/7 Wall St. He notes the percentages and number of people employed or unemployed could fluctuate widely due to the decisions of one company to hire or fire. For instance, in Columbus, Ind., when the area’s largest employer, engine manufacturer Cummins, makes decisions about its employment needs, it affects the entire region.
Throughout the country, certain jobs are growing while others are in decline, especially in the last year. In terms of growth, Friedhoff points to the manufacturing sector making a comeback, helping states such as Michigan. Meanwhile, Bedroussian points to recent growth in the technology sector, which has helped boost employment in Texas cities such as Austin, Dallas and San Antonio.
Jobs in industries like financial services are in decline due to effects of the European debt crisis, Bedroussian says. Government employment is also down. Due to lower government revenue and austerity measures, the public sector at both the state and local levels has declined and could continue to do so, especially in services such as education, according to both Friedhoff and Bedroussian.
When looking at the 10 metropolitan areas with the highest percentage of growth in people employed, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed data for 374 metropolitan areas from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. We considered the number and percentage change in the labor force, total employed and unemployed between June 2009 and June 2012, as well as changes on an annual basis during that time, including the past 12 months, to determine if these changes were recent. For the metro areas, we also looked at data from the BLS about the types of jobs people are employed in as of June 2012 and whether the number of employed people has increased or decreased over the past year. we often compared those figures to the state as a whole. It should be noted that for these periods, we looked at the number of employed people, unemployed people, and the labor force, which is the combination of those two groups.
These are the 10 metropolitan areas with the largest increase in employees from June 2009 to June 2012.