26. Lake Havasu City-Kingman, AZ
> 5 yr. employment increase: 15.6% (+10,750 jobs)
> Highest growth industry: Leisure and hospitality (+2,500 jobs)
> August unemployment: 6.0%
> Median household income: $42,311
Lake Havasu is one of three metro areas in Arizona to rank among the U.S. cities adding jobs the fastest. In the past half decade, employment in the metro area grew 15.6%, double the comparable 7.8% national job growth.
Boasting 400 miles of coastline and sunshine almost year round, Lake Havasu is a popular tourist destination. In addition to boating, fishing, golfing, and hiking, the city is home to the London Bridge, which was relocated from the Thames to the Colorado River beginning in 1968 through 1971. The bridge is the second largest tourist draw in the state, trailing only the Grand Canyon. Tourism has been a boon for the local job market as Lake Havasu’s leisure and hospitality industry added 2,500 job in the past five years.
25. Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO
> 5 yr. employment increase: 15.6% (+214,831 jobs)
> Highest growth industry: Professional and business services (+36,400 jobs)
> August unemployment: 3.3%
> Median household income: $76,643
Few U.S. metro areas have a faster growing labor force than Denver. In the past five years, the number of people in Denver either working or looking for work increased by 12.1%. For reference, the total U.S. labor force remained effectively flat over that period. Job growth in Denver, however, has kept pace with the city’s growing labor force, as total employment was up 15.6% over the same period.
Industries in Denver that each added over 30,000 jobs in the past five years include, professional business services, leisure and hospitality, trade, transportation, and utilities. No industries in the metro area around Colorado’s capital city shed jobs in the past half decade.
24. North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton, FL
> 5 yr. employment increase: 15.9% (+48,037 jobs)
> Highest growth industry: Professional and business services (+12,400 jobs)
> August unemployment: 3.6%
> Median household income: $56,817
There are now 48,000 more people working in the North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton metro area than there were five years ago. Overall employment climbed the most in the professional and business services industry, which added 12,400 jobs. The metro area’s leisure and hospitality industry and education and health services also grew substantially, netting a total of 9,500 and 8,500 new jobs, respectively.
The area’s rapid job growth outpaced the growth in the number of people looking for jobs in the metro area, and as a result, unemployment fell considerably. Just 3.6% of workers in North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton are out of a job, compared to the area’s 7.0% unemployment rate in August 2013.
23. Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, GA
> 5 yr. employment increase: 16.0% (+410,162 jobs)
> Highest growth industry: Trade, transportation, and utilities (+73,400 jobs)
> August unemployment: 3.6%
> Median household income: $65,381
The largest metro area by population on this list, employment in the Atlanta metro increased by 410,000 in the past five years. The metro area added 73,400 new jobs in its trade, transportation, and utilities sector alone, more than the total number of new jobs across all industries in the majority of metro areas on this list. Over the same period, Atlanta’s unemployment rate fell from 7.8% to 3.6% — currently one of the lowest of any major American city.
Atlanta’s low jobless rate partially explains the relatively high incomes in the city. The typical metro area household earns $65,381 a year, about $5,000 more than the income of the typical household nationwide.
22. Wenatchee, WA
> 5 yr. employment increase: 16.1% (+9,365 jobs)
> Highest growth industry: Leisure and hospitality (+1,400 jobs)
> August unemployment: 4.0%
> Median household income: $58,990
Wenatchee is the only metro area in Washington state to rank on this list. Although the area’s employment dropped slightly in the past year, Wenatchee has added nearly 9,400 jobs in the past half decade — a 16.1% growth. The metro area’s leisure and hospitality, mining, logging, and construction, as well as its education and health services industries each added over 1,000 jobs in the past five years.
Like most other cities on this list, Wenatchee’s population is growing fast. In the last five years, the metro area’s population grew by 4.8%, outpacing the comparable national population growth rate of 3.8%.