Special Report

31 American Cities Adding the Most Jobs

Samuel Stebbins

Detailed Findings

Nationwide, the education and health services sector has added more jobs than any other in the past five years — followed closely by the professional and business services and leisure and hospitality sectors.

The industries that drove growth in the metro areas on this list vary and include manufacturing; mining, logging and construction; and trade, transportation, and utilities in addition to the previously mentioned industries that drove national employment growth. Less than half of the cities adding the most jobs have an industry that is smaller now by total employment than it was five years ago.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the populations of most of the 31 cities adding the most jobs are also growing relatively fast. Only two cities on this list had slower population growth than the U.S. growth of 3.8% from 2012 to 2017. Overall, five-year population growth ranges from 1.9% in Lake Havasu City-Kingman, Arizona, to 37.9% in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Depending on the city, rapid population growth can be both a cause and a product of job growth. A growing population drives up demand for such services as education and health, ultimately driving employment growth. Similarly, new business growth and corporate expansions can spur hiring surges and draw job seekers to a city, ultimately leading to population spikes.

Just as the population of the cities on this list has grown in the past five years, so, too, has the number of people either working or looking for work, that is, the labor force. In the past five years, the labor force in the cities on this list has grown anywhere from 9.1% to nearly 25%. Over the same period, the size of the U.S. labor force remained effectively flat.

Job growth outpaced the influx of workers in every city on this list, as evidenced by the declines in unemployment rates. Grants Pass, Oregon, had the largest drop in unemployment, a 5.4 percentage point improvement from 10.7% in August 2013 to 5.3% in August 2018. Nationwide, unemployment dipped 3.3 percentage points over the same period.


To identify the American cities adding the most jobs, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed percent change in total employment over the five years from August 2013 to August 2018 in U.S. metro areas. Employment (the number of people employed), the total size of the labor force (those working and looking for work), and the number of unemployed workers are all from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The unemployment rate is also from the BLS and is as of August 2018. Employment by industry at the super sector level is also from the BLS and five-year changes were calculated from August 2013 to August 2018. Five-year population change was calculated from 2012 to 2017 and is from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. Median household income is for 2017 and is also from the ACS.