Special Report

American Cities Adding (and Losing) the Most Jobs

Michael B. Sauter, Thomas C. Frohlich, Alexander

U.S. payrolls rose by more than 200,000 in November as employers continued to hire at a steady pace. Meanwhile, the unemployment rate dropped to 7.0%, the lowest it has been since late 2008. While the figures generally point to an overall improvement in the economy and labor market, the progress isn’t even across the nation, and in some areas, jobs are still being shed.

In some parts of the country, however, job growth is especially strong. Such is the case in the metro area of Naples-Marco Island, Florida, where the number of jobs jumped by 7.59% over the past year. In other areas of the country the job market remains extremely weak. The number of jobs in Decatur, Illinois, fell by 4.3% over the past year. Based on the most recently available data, 24/7 Wall St. identified the metropolitan statistical areas with the greatest percent gains, and losses, in jobs.

Click here to see the cities that are adding jobs

Click here to see the cities that are losing jobs

Nationally, several industries have been driving job growth. In several of the metro areas that added the most jobs in the past 12 months, these industries have been a major factor as well. Martin Kohli, chief regional economist at the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), noted that “the continued boom in energy exploration appears to be a factor in why these areas in are doing relatively well.” In Midland and Odessa, Texas, two of the cities adding the most jobs, mining accounted for a great deal of job growth.

In other metro areas where jobs are on the rise, the housing sector has played a major role. Job growth in construction and new housing starts have begun to pick up after reaching multi-decade lows during the recession. This is especially important for the four fast-growing job markets in Florida, Kohli explained. An improved housing market is important “because areas in Florida were among those hardest hit by the bursting of the housing bubble.”

Employment in the manufacturing sector rose last year, but in many of the metro areas losing the most jobs, the long-struggling sector continued to decline. In Peoria and Decatur, Illinois, which both had among the largest job losses between October 2012 and October 2013, manufacturing employment declined 8.4% and 16.1%, respectively, during that time.

Largely because of continued budget-tightening, nationwide government employment in October was slightly lower than the same month in 2012. In several of the cities losing the most jobs, government employment declined even more. In Manhattan, Kansas, where overall jobs fell by 3.5%, the number of government jobs fell by nearly 10%.

To identify the 10 cities adding and losing the most jobs, 24/7 Wall St. examined the one year change in total non-farm payroll from figures published by the BLS for each metro area between October 2012 and October 2013. Additional figures on unemployment and labor force size are also from the BLS, as are data referencing the industry composition of the workforce in specific metro areas. Wage data from the Bureau are as of May 2012. Many of these areas are small and data may be subject to sampling error.

These are the American cities adding (and losing) the most jobs.