American Cities Adding (and Losing) the Most Jobs

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5. Yuba City, Calif.
> Jobs pct. change: 4.8%
> Total non-farm jobs: 39,100
> Total workforce: 70,446
> Unemployment rate: 12.4%

Yuba City is located in the fertile Sacramento Valley and is highly reliant on agriculture. There are more than 61,000 employed people in the region, but less than 40,000 non-farm jobs. Despite non-farm job growth of nearly 5% in the last year and a 17.4% decline in the jobless population, unemployment remains a problem in Yuba City. The region’s unemployment rate as of October was 12.4%, much higher than the national rate of 7.3%. Only three other metro areas had a higher unemployment rate than Yuba City.

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4. Midland, Texas
> Jobs pct. change: 5.2%
> Total non-farm jobs: 87,500
> Total workforce: 95,977
> Unemployment rate: 3.1%

Midland’s labor force grew by nearly 4% between October 2012 and October 2013, the fifth-largest improvement out of any metro area. The region’s unemployment rate of 3.1% this October was among the lowest in the nation. Like Odessa, Midland’s growth may be explained in part by the booming oil and gas industry. According to the Midland Development Corporation, oil and gas companies generated nearly 3,500 jobs in the region over the last 12 months. Compared with other metro areas adding the most jobs, wages in Midland are high. In 2012, the annual median wage was nearly $35,000, in the top third of all metro areas.

3. Crestview-Fort Walton Beach-Destin, Fla.
> Jobs pct. change: 6.0%
> Total non-farm jobs: 82,500
> Total workforce: 101,042
> Unemployment rate: 4.4%

Florida is home to the three metro areas with the highest job growth in the U.S., including the Crestview area, where the number of non-farm jobs has risen 6% between October of 2012 and October of 2013. Additionally, the unemployment rate in the area has fallen 1.3 percentage points in the most recent 12 months, and stood at just 4.4% as of October. None of this job growth has come from the public sector, as the number government jobs has been flat over the last year. Many major area employers include aerospace and defense companies, and according to the Economic Development Council of Okaloosa County, Florida, the area also offers an industrial air park for private companies to use as well as tax credits to recruit aerospace employers.

2. Sebastian-Vero Beach, Fla.
> Jobs pct. change: 6.7%
> Total non-farm jobs: 47,700
> Total workforce: 65,024
> Unemployment rate: 8.0%

The housing crisis affected Florida more than most states, and the Sebastien-Vero Beach area’s housing recovery has been slow. The unemployment rate in the area was more than 14% as of October 2009. Three years later, in October 2012, the region still had an unemployment rate of 10.3%, compared to a national rate of 7.9%. Over the next 12 months, however, things began to pick up in the area’s job market. The region’s labor force grew at one of the fastest rates in the country, and the economy added 3,000 jobs, a 6.7% increase. The unemployment rate fell by 2.3 percentage points to 8%, the fourth-largest decline of any metro area.

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1. Naples-Marco Island, Fla.
> Jobs pct. change: 7.6%
> Total non-farm jobs: 124,700
> Total workforce: 155,261
> Unemployment rate: 6.4%

As of October, no metro area matched Naples for non-farm job growth over the preceding 12 months. The metro area also added almost 5,800 workers, a 3.9% increase from the previous October. As a result, Naples’ unemployment rate dropped from 8.5% in October 2012 to 6.4% in October 2013. By comparison, non-farm payrolls nationwide rose less than 2% over that time, while the U.S. unemployment rate trickled down from 7.9% to 7.3%. One major source for job growth was the leisure and hospitality industry, where the number of jobs increased by 6.7% from last year. Also, job growth in the professional and business services sector was up 10.4%
during the same period.