10. Albany, OR
> Employment change: 5.20%
> No. of jobs Oct. 2015: 50,990
> No. of jobs Oct. 2016: 53,641
> Unemployment rate Oct. 2016: 5.8%
Metal manufacturing is central to Albany’s economy. Specialty metal alloy maker Allegheny Technologies Incorporated is one of the largest employers in the area. Within the past year, employment in the area’s mining, logging, and construction sector grew by 13.3%, the eighth largest employment growth in the sector among U.S. metro areas. Like many Oregon metros, the rapid employment growth was not enough to bring unemployment below the 4.9% national rate.
9. Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA
> Employment change: 5.21%
> No. of jobs Oct. 2015: 1,171,041
> No. of jobs Oct. 2016: 1,232,021
> Unemployment rate Oct. 2016: 5.0%
At over 1.2 million, the Portland metro area has one of the largest workforces in the country. The area’s job market is also growing rapidly, adding nearly 61,000 workers in the past year — a 5.2% increase in total employment. Despite far faster than average employment growth, the city’s 5.0% unemployment rate is roughly in line with the corresponding 4.9% national rate.
8. Morristown, TN
> Employment change: 5.46%
> No. of jobs Oct. 2015: 46,612
> No. of jobs Oct. 2016: 49,159
> Unemployment rate Oct. 2016: 5.5%
The 5.5% employment growth in the Morristown metro area was higher than in all but a handful of other U.S. metro areas. Employment growth greatly outpaced the labor force expansion, and as a result, the area’s unemployment rate fell from 6.3% in October 2015 to 5.5% in October 2016. The education and health services industry helped drive growth, with employment in the sector increasing by 10.9%, far faster than any other industry in the area.
7. Athens-Clarke County, GA
> Employment change: 5.52%
> No. of jobs Oct. 2015: 88,488
> No. of jobs Oct. 2016: 93,375
> Unemployment rate Oct. 2016: 5.0%
The number of workers in the Athens metro area increased by about 4,900, in line with the area’s labor force expansion. Home to the University of Georgia, Athens also happens to be a highly educated area. A highly educated population can be more attractive to potential employers, and 38.0% of area adults have at least a bachelor’s degree, a far larger share than the 30.6% of adults nationwide.
6. Bismarck, ND
> Employment change: 6.00%
> No. of jobs Oct. 2015: 66,278
> No. of jobs Oct. 2016: 70,255
> Unemployment rate Oct. 2016: 2.8%
The number of workers in the Bismark, North Dakota metro area increased by 6% between October 2015 and October 2016, faster than in all but five other U.S. metros. While employment growth was strong, it did not keep pace with the area’s growing labor force. Over the same time period, Bismarck’s labor force expanded by about 6.5%, or roughly 400 more workers than jobs. Still, the area’s 2.8% unemployment rate is nearly the lowest in the country.
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