American Cities Adding (and Losing) the Most Jobs

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Cities Adding the Most Jobs

10. Port St. Lucie, Fla.
> Jobs pct. change: 4.4%
> Total non-farm jobs: 129,300
> Total workforce: 194,257
> Unemployment rate: 8.1%

Port St. Lucie saw a large increase in jobs the last few years. The unemployment rate in Port St. Lucie was 8.1% in October of this year, above the national rate but considerably better than its October 2009 rate of more than 13%. Wages, on the other hand, were relatively low last year. The annual median wage in 2012 was lower than in most metro areas, at just $29,050. After declining significantly during the recession, Port St. Lucie’s trade, transportation, and utilities sector has grown steadily, including 7.1% growth in the 12 months ending in October of this year.

9. Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers, Ark.-Mo.
> Jobs pct. change: 4.5%
> Total non-farm jobs: 224,200
> Total workforce: 240,112
> Unemployment rate: 5.1%

Since 2007, the unemployment rate in the Fayetteville metro area has mostly stayed below 7%. This past October, just 5.1% of the workforce was unemployed, among the better unemployment rates in the nation. Employment in the business and professional sector grew faster than any other, with the number of jobs increasing by 7.1% between October 2012 and October of this year. At the beginning of 2012, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, about one-fourth of the jobs in the Fayetteville area were provided by Wal-Mart Stores, the University of Arkansas, and Tyson Foods.

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8. Winchester, Va.-W.Va.
> Jobs pct. change: 4.5%
> Total non-farm jobs: 60,500
> Total workforce: 69,359
> Unemployment rate: 5.0%

Winchester’s labor force has been rising since October 2009, when it reached a low of just under 64,000 workers. As of this October, the labor force totaled nearly 70,000 workers. Compared with the year before, it had improved by 1,648, or 2.4%, one of the largest increases out of all metro areas. As of October, Winchester’s unemployment rate was just 5% compared to a national rate of 7.3%. According to Winchester’s Office of Economic Redevelopment, leading employers in the region include Winchester Medical Center, Lear Corporation, and Rubbermaid Commercial Products — which is headquartered in the area.

7. Odessa, Texas
> Jobs pct. change: 4.6%
> Total non-farm jobs: 76,700
> Total workforce: 87,823
> Unemployment rate: 3.6%

The number of jobs in Odessa increased by more than 3% in October from a year ago, one of the largest increases among metro areas. Like many places in Texas, Odessa has profited from an improved energy industry in recent years. According to Kohli, the continued boom in energy exploration may explain the recent spike in job growth. The mining, logging, and construction sector has grown by 11.4% over the 12 months ending in October, and accounted for more than 20,000 of Odessa’s 76,700 non-farm jobs.

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6. Jonesboro, Ark.
> Jobs pct. change: 4.6%
> Total non-farm jobs: 54,100
> Total workforce: 60,293
> Unemployment rate: 6.4%

The total number of non-farm jobs in Jonesboro rose by 4.6% from October 2012 to October 2013. Paychecks for area workers are generally low, with a median annual wage of just $26,340 in 2012, among the lowest in the nation. However, unemployment remained relatively low during the recession, only briefly exceeding 8%. The area is home to a number of manufacturers producing consumer staples, including cereal company Post Foods, snack maker Frito-Lay, as well as Unilever and Nestle.