The strength of the U.S. economy is a favorite talking point of politicians, journalists, and business leaders. Indeed, there is plenty of evidence to suggest we are in a period of unprecedented prosperity. The economy has added jobs for a record-breaking 94 consecutive months and shows no signs of slowing; the unemployment rate is nearing its lowest point in decades; and the 19 million new jobs added since the Great Recession is more than double the nearly 8.7 million jobs lost in its wake.
Job growth in recent years has been driven largely by employment gains in major metropolitan areas. Employment in U.S. metro areas climbed 8.8% over the last half decade — nearly triple the comparable 3.2% job growth in the rest of the country.
While American cities have generally been hiring hotbeds, driving overall employment growth, there are 43 metro areas nationwide that have fewer jobs now than five years ago. A number of these metro areas have shrinking populations and increasing poverty rates.
Nationwide, 20 states have at least one major metro area with fewer jobs now than five years ago. In the remaining states, there is at least one metro area where employment growth has been slower than the statewide average, the national average, or both over the last half decade.
24/7 Wall St. reviewed changes in total employment in 381 metro areas from May 2013 to May 2018 to identify the metro areas with the weakest job growth in every state.