As of September 2018, America’s job market was doing better than it had in decades. Unemployment dropped to 3.7%, the lowest rate since 1969. And the economy added 134,000 jobs in September, marking 96 months of consecutive job growth in the United States.
In reality, there is no one, single U.S. economy. Martin Kohli, chief regional economist for the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, told 24/7 Wall St. that “the national economy really is an agglomeration of very different regional economies.” Reviewing metropolitan employment growth figures highlights the differences in economic outcomes across the country.
In some metropolitan areas, the number of people employed is about the same as or lower than it was five years ago. In others, employment is much higher as these cities have been successful in increasing the number of jobs.
In some major metropolitan areas, employment growth has exceeded 20% in the past five years, far outpacing growth in their respective states. For instance, the number of workers in Lake Charles, Louisiana, increased by more than 28% from August 2013 to August 2018. During the same time period, Louisiana’s state employment grew 7.7%.
A number of educational, economic, and environmental factors, among others, contribute to the level of employment in an area, and the causes of job growth vary among each metro area that experienced significant employment growth. According to Kohli, places in the South and West, such as Austin and Phoenix, derived much of their job growth from the construction industry. In eastern states like New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, the warehousing and transportation sector contributed heavily to job growth.
24/7 Wall St. reviewed changes in total employment in 381 metro areas from August 2013 to August 2018 to identify the cities adding the most jobs in every state.