Detailed Findings and Methodology:
One of the two principal factors that can spur economic growth is population growth. People often relocate to a new city for educational and occupational opportunities. With population growth, the labor force also grows — and this often coincides with an increase in the number of jobs. In 45 of the 50 metropolitan areas that added the most jobs, labor force growth was the sharpest over the five years ending June 2017 in their respective states.
Population growth alone, however, is not enough to drive economic and employment growth. The health of the labor market is also an important factor. A healthy job market should be able to accommodate newcomers without losing any of its strength. This was indeed the case in a majority of cities that added the most jobs. In 49 of the 50 cities on this list, the increase in the size of the labor force coincided with a decrease in the number of unemployed workers in the metro area — meaning the majority of new residents were able to find employment, and the job market became healthier overall.
In Anchorage, Alaska, however, the increase in the labor force coincided with an increase in the number of unemployed residents — an indication of unsustainable growth and a job market in declining health.
A number of economic trends have emerged in the wake of the Great Recession. For example, employment in the U.S. construction sector rose 22% between 2012 and 2017, more than twice the 9% growth rate across all industries and the fastest of any sector. Employment grew more than 15% in both in the professional and business services and leisure and hospitality sectors, the second and third most of any industry. Meanwhile, as the price oil fell by nearly 50%, the number of workers in the mining and logging sector fell 17% — the only sector to shed jobs over the past five years.
To determine the cities adding the most jobs in every state, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed employment growth for 398 metropolitan statistical areas for the period of June 2012 to June 2017 with data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Supplementary data on unemployment and employment by industry also came from the BLS. Data are not seasonally adjusted.