25 Cities Adding (and Losing) the Most Jobs in 2017

December 7, 2017 by Thomas C. Frohlich

Source: Tsyhun / iStock
2017 may stand out for many events and developments, and among them is the exceptional year turned in by the labor market. For one, U.S. unemployment dropped to 4.1% in October, the lowest since December 2000.

Barring a massive exodus of workers from the labor force, falling unemployment almost always reflects increased hiring, which in turn bodes well for the economy. But while national conditions are favorable, trends vary substantially across the country, and not all local economies have been doing as well.

24/7 Wall St. reviewed monthly metro area employment figures in 2017 from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. From January through October, employment — the number of Americans currently employed — rose by 1.2%. Employment rose faster over that period in 187 of the nation’s 388 metro areas. It declined in 78 metro areas.

Most of the cities adding the most jobs in 2017 reported uninterrupted employment increases over the course of the year, but this was not always the case. Both Yuma, Arizona and Corvallis, Oregon reported among the largest employment increases this year, yet had some fairly dramatic employment fluctuations. In Yuma, for example, seasonally adjusted employment levels dropped for four consecutive months in the summer before rising again in September and October.

Similarly, while the trend in most cities losing the most jobs was one of steady decline, in several job changes were somewhat erratic. Employment in the St. Joseph metro area, on the border of Montana and Kansas, for example, surged in July before dropping in October.

Click here to see the cities adding the most jobs.
Click here to see the cities losing the most jobs.
Click here to see our detailed findings and methodology.

Cities Adding the Most Jobs

Source: BergmannD / iStock

25. Janesville-Beloit, WI
> Employment change: 2,826 (+3.5%)
> Jan. 2017 employment: 80,978
> Oct. 2017 employment: 83,804
> Unemployment, Oct. 2017: 3.4%
> Strongest sector: Mining, logging, and construction (+11.5% employment chg.)

Source: Thinkstock

24. Corvallis, OR
> Employment change: 1,627 (+3.6%)
> Jan. 2017 employment: 45,537
> Oct. 2017 employment: 47,164
> Unemployment, Oct. 2017: 3.3% (lowest 25%)
> Strongest sector: Mining, logging, and construction (+8.3% employment chg.)

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Source: Thinkstock

23. Yuma, AZ
> Employment change: 2,883 (+3.6%)
> Jan. 2017 employment: 79,504
> Oct. 2017 employment: 82,387
> Unemployment, Oct. 2017: 17.4% (highest 10%)
> Strongest sector: Mining, logging, and construction (+4.5% employment chg.)

Source: Thinkstock

22. Johnson City, TN
> Employment change: 3,147 (+3.7%)
> Jan. 2017 employment: 84,679
> Oct. 2017 employment: 87,826
> Unemployment, Oct. 2017: 3.6%
> Strongest sector: Government (+11.1% employment chg.)

Source: Thinkstock

21. Chattanooga, TN-GA
> Employment change: 9,377 (+3.8%)
> Jan. 2017 employment: 249,982
> Oct. 2017 employment: 259,359
> Unemployment, Oct. 2017: 3.5%
> Strongest sector: Mining, logging, and construction (+8.2% employment chg.)

Source: Thinkstock

20. Eugene, OR
> Employment change: 6,475 (+3.8%)
> Jan. 2017 employment: 172,152
> Oct. 2017 employment: 178,627
> Unemployment, Oct. 2017: 4.6%
> Strongest sector: Mining, logging, and construction (+13.7% employment chg.)

Source: Thinkstock

19. Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA
> Employment change: 46,621 (+3.8%)
> Jan. 2017 employment: 1,230,028
> Oct. 2017 employment: 1,276,649
> Unemployment, Oct. 2017: 4.2%
> Strongest sector: Mining, logging, and construction (+19.4% employment chg.)

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Source: Thinkstock

18. Bremerton-Silverdale, WA
> Employment change: 4,366 (+3.9%)
> Jan. 2017 employment: 111,618
> Oct. 2017 employment: 115,984
> Unemployment, Oct. 2017: 4.6%
> Strongest sector: Mining, logging, and construction (+7.1% employment chg.)

Source: Thinkstock

17. Naples-Immokalee-Marco Island, FL
> Employment change: 6,466 (+4.1%)
> Jan. 2017 employment: 158,952
> Oct. 2017 employment: 165,418
> Unemployment, Oct. 2017: 3.4%
> Strongest sector: Mining, logging, and construction (+9.1% employment chg.)

Source: Thinkstock

16. Auburn-Opelika, AL
> Employment change: 2,938 (+4.2%)
> Jan. 2017 employment: 70,002
> Oct. 2017 employment: 72,940
> Unemployment, Oct. 2017: 3.1% (lowest 25%)
> Strongest sector: Government (+10.9% employment chg.)

Source: Thinkstock

15. Bend-Redmond, OR
> Employment change: 3,684 (+4.2%)
> Jan. 2017 employment: 87,205
> Oct. 2017 employment: 90,889
> Unemployment, Oct. 2017: 4.2%
> Strongest sector: Mining, logging, and construction (+22.8% employment chg.)

Source: Home4tnindustry / Wikimedia Commons

14. Morristown, TN
> Employment change: 2,043 (+4.2%)
> Jan. 2017 employment: 48,359
> Oct. 2017 employment: 50,402
> Unemployment, Oct. 2017: 3.6%
> Strongest sector: Education and health services (+14.5% employment chg.)

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Source: Thinkstock

13. Olympia-Tumwater, WA
> Employment change: 5,548 (+4.4%)
> Jan. 2017 employment: 125,170
> Oct. 2017 employment: 130,718
> Unemployment, Oct. 2017: 4.7%
> Strongest sector: Mining, logging, and construction (+18.8% employment chg.)

Source: Thinkstock

12. Longview, WA
> Employment change: 1,885 (+4.5%)
> Jan. 2017 employment: 41,617
> Oct. 2017 employment: 43,502
> Unemployment, Oct. 2017: 5.6% (highest 25%)
> Strongest sector: Mining, logging, and construction (+6.5% employment chg.)

Source: f11photo / Thinkstock

11. Nashville-Davidson-Murfreesboro-Franklin, TN
> Employment change: 43,392 (+4.6%)
> Jan. 2017 employment: 949,989
> Oct. 2017 employment: 993,381
> Unemployment, Oct. 2017: 2.4% (lowest 10%)
> Strongest sector: Mining, logging, and construction (+7.2% employment chg.)

Source: Thinkstock

10. Spokane-Spokane Valley, WA
> Employment change: 11,114 (+4.6%)
> Jan. 2017 employment: 242,457
> Oct. 2017 employment: 253,571
> Unemployment, Oct. 2017: 5.0% (highest 25%)
> Strongest sector: Mining, logging, and construction (+20.3% employment chg.)

Source: RondaKimbrow / iStock

9. Greeley, CO
> Employment change: 6,953 (+4.7%)
> Jan. 2017 employment: 147,003
> Oct. 2017 employment: 153,956
> Unemployment, Oct. 2017: 2.7% (lowest 10%)
> Strongest sector: Mining, logging, and construction (+10.1% employment chg.)

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Source: Thinkstock

8. Sebring, FL
> Employment change: 1,635 (+4.8%)
> Jan. 2017 employment: 34,407
> Oct. 2017 employment: 36,042
> Unemployment, Oct. 2017: 4.4%
> Strongest sector: Professional and business services (+5.0% employment chg.)

Source: Thinkstock

7. Daphne-Fairhope-Foley, AL
> Employment change: 4,208 (+4.9%)
> Jan. 2017 employment: 85,678
> Oct. 2017 employment: 89,886
> Unemployment, Oct. 2017: 3.2% (lowest 25%)
> Strongest sector: Other services (+10.4% employment chg.)

Source: Thinkstock

6. Athens-Clarke County, GA
> Employment change: 4,632 (+5.0%)
> Jan. 2017 employment: 92,496
> Oct. 2017 employment: 97,128
> Unemployment, Oct. 2017: 4.1%
> Strongest sector: Government (+8.1% employment chg.)

Source: Thinkstock

5. St. George, UT
> Employment change: 3,330 (+5.0%)
> Jan. 2017 employment: 66,477
> Oct. 2017 employment: 69,807
> Unemployment, Oct. 2017: 3.3% (lowest 25%)
> Strongest sector: Mining, logging, and construction (+15.0% employment chg.)

Source: Thinkstock

4. Mount Vernon-Anacortes, WA
> Employment change: 2,752 (+5.0%)
> Jan. 2017 employment: 54,870
> Oct. 2017 employment: 57,622
> Unemployment, Oct. 2017: 5.0% (highest 25%)
> Strongest sector: Mining, logging, and construction (+10.8% employment chg.)

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Source: Thinkstock

3. Fort Collins, CO
> Employment change: 9,330 (+5.0%)
> Jan. 2017 employment: 185,803
> Oct. 2017 employment: 195,133
> Unemployment, Oct. 2017: 2.4% (lowest 10%)
> Strongest sector: Mining, logging, and construction (+10.9% employment chg.)

Source: Natalia Bratslavsky / Shutterstock.com

2. Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers, AR-MO
> Employment change: 13,385 (+5.2%)
> Jan. 2017 employment: 258,191
> Oct. 2017 employment: 271,576
> Unemployment, Oct. 2017: 2.6% (lowest 10%)
> Strongest sector: Government (+9.2% employment chg.)

Source: NickJKelly / iStock

1. Bellingham, WA
> Employment change: 5,609 (+5.5%)
> Jan. 2017 employment: 102,069
> Oct. 2017 employment: 107,678
> Unemployment, Oct. 2017: 4.5%
> Strongest sector: Mining, logging, and construction (+16.9% employment chg.)

Cities Losing the Most Jobs

Source: varkdvr / iStock

25. Great Falls, MT
> Employment change: -436 (-1.2%)
> Jan. 2017 employment: 36,971
> Oct. 2017 employment: 36,535
> Unemployment, Oct. 2017: 3.7%
> Weakest sector (employment chg.): Trade, transportation, and utilities (0.0%)

Source: Thinkstock

24. Shreveport-Bossier City, LA
> Employment change: -2,159 (-1.2%)
> Jan. 2017 employment: 177,180
> Oct. 2017 employment: 175,021
> Unemployment, Oct. 2017: 5.2% (highest 25%)
> Weakest sector (employment chg.): Mining, logging, and construction (-3.4%)

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Source: Thinkstock

23. Muskegon, MI
> Employment change: -902 (-1.2%)
> Jan. 2017 employment: 73,617
> Oct. 2017 employment: 72,715
> Unemployment, Oct. 2017: 5.7% (highest 10%)
> Weakest sector (employment chg.): Trade, transportation, and utilities (-0.7%)

Source: Thinkstock

22. Davenport-Moline-Rock Island, IA-IL
> Employment change: -2,357 (-1.3%)
> Jan. 2017 employment: 181,756
> Oct. 2017 employment: 179,399
> Unemployment, Oct. 2017: 4.3%
> Weakest sector (employment chg.): Trade, transportation, and utilities (-0.3%)

Source: dustin77a / Shutterstock.com

21. St. Joseph, MO-KS
> Employment change: -885 (-1.4%)
> Jan. 2017 employment: 63,050
> Oct. 2017 employment: 62,165
> Unemployment, Oct. 2017: 3.0% (lowest 25%)
> Weakest sector (employment chg.): Trade, transportation, and utilities (-3.6%)

Source: astonishme / Flickr

20. Beckley, WV
> Employment change: -600 (-1.4%)
> Jan. 2017 employment: 42,224
> Oct. 2017 employment: 41,624
> Unemployment, Oct. 2017: 5.6% (highest 25%)
> Weakest sector (employment chg.): Government (-2.2%)

Source: Kirkikis / iStock

19. Williamsport, PA
> Employment change: -787 (-1.4%)
> Jan. 2017 employment: 54,456
> Oct. 2017 employment: 53,669
> Unemployment, Oct. 2017: 5.4% (highest 25%)
> Weakest sector (employment chg.): Trade, transportation, and utilities (-2.8%)

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Source: Thinkstock

18. Parkersburg-Vienna, WV
> Employment change: -559 (-1.5%)
> Jan. 2017 employment: 36,615
> Oct. 2017 employment: 36,056
> Unemployment, Oct. 2017: 5.3% (highest 25%)
> Weakest sector (employment chg.): Other services (-0.7%)

Source: tzm23 / Shutterstock.com

17. Champaign-Urbana, IL
> Employment change: -1,742 (-1.5%)
> Jan. 2017 employment: 114,026
> Oct. 2017 employment: 112,284
> Unemployment, Oct. 2017: 4.2%
> Weakest sector (employment chg.): Manufacturing (0.0%)

Source: Thinkstock

16. Lansing-East Lansing, MI
> Employment change: -3,781 (-1.6%)
> Jan. 2017 employment: 240,368
> Oct. 2017 employment: 236,587
> Unemployment, Oct. 2017: 4.6%
> Weakest sector (employment chg.): Manufacturing (-1.9%)

Source: Thinkstock

15. Pocatello, ID
> Employment change: -656 (-1.6%)
> Jan. 2017 employment: 40,390
> Oct. 2017 employment: 39,734
> Unemployment, Oct. 2017: 2.8% (lowest 25%)
> Weakest sector (employment chg.): Manufacturing (0.0%)

Source: Oscar C. Williams / Shutterstock.com

14. Casper, WY
> Employment change: -615 (-1.6%)
> Jan. 2017 employment: 37,419
> Oct. 2017 employment: 36,804
> Unemployment, Oct. 2017: 5.2% (highest 25%)
> Weakest sector (employment chg.): Government (-3.4%)

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Source: Thinkstock

13. Niles-Benton Harbor, MI
> Employment change: -1,173 (-1.7%)
> Jan. 2017 employment: 70,864
> Oct. 2017 employment: 69,691
> Unemployment, Oct. 2017: 5.0% (highest 25%)
> Weakest sector (employment chg.): Trade, transportation, and utilities (-0.9%)

Source: brandonhirtphoto / iStock

12. Altoona, PA
> Employment change: -993 (-1.7%)
> Jan. 2017 employment: 57,178
> Oct. 2017 employment: 56,185
> Unemployment, Oct. 2017: 4.6%
> Weakest sector (employment chg.): Financial activities (-6.3%)

Source: Thinkstock

11. Midland, MI
> Employment change: -734 (-1.9%)
> Jan. 2017 employment: 39,169
> Oct. 2017 employment: 38,435
> Unemployment, Oct. 2017: 4.7%
> Weakest sector (employment chg.): Professional and business services (-1.2%)

Source: Thinkstock

10. Dubuque, IA
> Employment change: -1,051 (-2.0%)
> Jan. 2017 employment: 53,463
> Oct. 2017 employment: 52,412
> Unemployment, Oct. 2017: 2.9% (lowest 25%)
> Weakest sector (employment chg.): Trade, transportation, and utilities (-2.4%)

Source: Thinkstock

9. Decatur, IL
> Employment change: -1,032 (-2.2%)
> Jan. 2017 employment: 46,897
> Oct. 2017 employment: 45,865
> Unemployment, Oct. 2017: 5.4% (highest 25%)
> Weakest sector (employment chg.): Trade, transportation, and utilities (-0.9%)

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Source: PictureItPerfect / iStock

8. Grand Forks, ND-MN
> Employment change: -1,243 (-2.2%)
> Jan. 2017 employment: 56,231
> Oct. 2017 employment: 54,988
> Unemployment, Oct. 2017: 2.7% (lowest 10%)
> Weakest sector (employment chg.): Mining, logging, and construction (-5.3%)

Source: Asher196 / Wikimedia Commons

7. Bay City, MI
> Employment change: -1,112 (-2.2%)
> Jan. 2017 employment: 49,591
> Oct. 2017 employment: 48,479
> Unemployment, Oct. 2017: 5.6% (highest 25%)
> Weakest sector (employment chg.): Trade, transportation, and utilities (-5.2%)

Source: Thinkstock

6. Springfield, IL
> Employment change: -2,518 (-2.3%)
> Jan. 2017 employment: 108,353
> Oct. 2017 employment: 105,835
> Unemployment, Oct. 2017: 4.2%
> Weakest sector (employment chg.): Trade, transportation, and utilities (-3.3%)

Source: Sean Pavone / iStock

5. Portsmouth, NH-ME
> Employment change: -1,768 (-2.4%)
> Jan. 2017 employment: 74,624
> Oct. 2017 employment: 72,856
> Unemployment, Oct. 2017: 2.6% (lowest 10%)
> Weakest sector (employment chg.): Trade, transportation, and utilities (-1.1%)

Source: Suzanne Tucker / Shutterstock.com

4. Michigan City-La Porte, IN
> Employment change: -1,223 (-2.7%)
> Jan. 2017 employment: 45,178
> Oct. 2017 employment: 43,955
> Unemployment, Oct. 2017: 4.9%
> Weakest sector (employment chg.): Government (-3.1%)

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Source: Daniel Schwen / Wikimedia Commons

3. Danville, IL
> Employment change: -890 (-2.8%)
> Jan. 2017 employment: 32,311
> Oct. 2017 employment: 31,421
> Unemployment, Oct. 2017: 6.3% (highest 10%)
> Weakest sector (employment chg.): Financial activities (-9.1%)

Source: Thinkstock

2. Cheyenne, WY
> Employment change: -1,731 (-3.6%)
> Jan. 2017 employment: 48,028
> Oct. 2017 employment: 46,297
> Unemployment, Oct. 2017: 3.8%
> Weakest sector (employment chg.): Other services (+1.5%)

Source: Thinkstock

1. Cape Girardeau, MO-IL
> Employment change: -2,708 (-5.8%)
> Jan. 2017 employment: 46,357
> Oct. 2017 employment: 43,649
> Unemployment, Oct. 2017: 3.2% (lowest 25%)
> Weakest sector (employment chg.): Government (-34.9%)

Detailed Findings & Methodology

According to the latest BLS job report, the national employment decline in September was largely because of the impact of hurricanes Irma and Harvey. According to the BLS, the drop was temporary. Metro area employment levels recovered in both states, and no metro areas in Texas and Florida are present on our list of largest employment declines this year.

The steady uptick in employment throughout the year was driven by hiring in the professional and business services industry. Employment in that sector rose 5.2% through October from the start of the year, the largest growth of any industry. In 18 of the 25 metro areas adding the most jobs, however, the mining, logging, and construction sectors drove employment growth. In metro regions with falling employment, the trade, transportation, and utilities sector was most often the industry driving employment declines.

The fastest-growing industries in cities with fast-growing (or shrinking) employment levels are not necessarily the largest industry by employment in those areas. In fact, either the leisure and hospitality or information sector is the largest employer in every metro on these lists, regardless of whether metro employment levels grew or declined.

Despite the healthy demand for workers that the rising employment levels suggest, wage growth has been comparatively weak. Average hourly wages for private employees rose by 2.0% this year through October, by 2.4% compared with October 2016, and was unchanged from September. The 2.0% wage growth from January to October is in line with that period historically, but the 2.9% year-over-year in September was considerably better than October’s 2.4% growth. Further, wages have remained unchanged over the previous month this time of year only once in the last decade.

To identify the cities adding (and losing) the most jobs in 2017, 24/7 Wall st. reviewed monthly metro area employment figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. We calculated the percentage change from January 2017 through October 2017, the latest month for which employment data at the metro area level is available. All figures are seasonally adjusted. January and October unemployment rates came from the BLS. We identified the industry contributing the most to job growth using employment break downs by sector (NAICS level 2), also from the BLS.