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The Post-Recession Power of Small Metros

The Post-Recession Power of Small Metros
Reuters

According to the National Bureau of Economic Research, the great recession ended in June 2009. Since then, the country has added about 1.2 million jobs to the economy. It’s not a major rebound, considering the more than 8 million jobs lost since December 2007, but it’s a couple of steps in a positive direction.

So where are all these jobs?

A new interactive map from the Urban Institute’s MetroTrends research team tracks the growth in jobs since the end of the recession by industry in the 100 largest metropolitan areas in the U.S. They’ve charted job gains (and losses) in 16 industries, based on changes in employment number in each sector between June 2009 and October 2011 using Current Employment Statistics data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

As you'd expect, some areas (and sectors) have performed better than others. As the MetroTrends blog notes, "since the Great Recession ended in June 2009, the United States has gained about 1.2 million jobs, mostly in the services sector. Of the top 100 metros, 59 have added jobs overall, while 41 have lost jobs."

Below are the top ranking metro areas in each of the 16 jobs sectors, listed with their job growth rate.

Job Sector Top Ranking Metro
Wholesale Trade Austin–Round Rock, TX (10.0%)
Financial Activities Dallas–Fort Worth–Arlington, TX (4.4%)
Retail Trade El Paso, TX (7.3%)
Trade, Transportation, and Utilities El Paso, TX (5.9%)
Total Private Grand Rapids–Wyoming, MI (4.7%)
Private Service Providing Greenville–Mauldin–Easley, SC (6.3%)
Professional and Business Services Greenville–Mauldin–Easley, SC (22.7%)
Goods Producing Lansing–East Lansing, MI (17.1%)
Manufacturing Lansing–East Lansing, MI (23.3%)
Transportation and Utilities Lansing–East Lansing, MI (21.7%)
Service Providing McAllen–Edinburg–Mission, TX (5.8%)
Other Services Milwaukee–Waukesha–West Allis, WI (12.7%)
Government Nashville–Davidson–Murfreesboro–Franklin, TN (14.0%)
Information New Orleans–Metairie–Kenner, LA (23.9%)
Education and Health Services Phoenix–Mesa–Scottsdale, AZ (15.1%)
Leisure and Hospitality Worcester, MA–CT (8.7%)

 

This list highlights the growing power of the nation’s smaller metropolitan areas. Of these top-performing metros, only two – Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington and Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale – are among the 30 largest metros in the country. But as the MetroTrends notes, high job growth rates don’t necessarily mean high job growth numbers.

The top 10 job-creating metros account for 38.5% of net U.S. job growth and include Houston (7.2%), Dallas (6.1%), Boston (6.0%), Phoenix (3.5%), Detroit (3.1%), Miami (3.0%), Nashville (2.7%), Pittsburgh (2.5%), Washington DC (2.2%), and San Jose (2.1%).

The big winner here seems to be Lansing-East Lansing, Michigan, which is a top-performer in three sectors: goods producing, manufacturing and transportation and utilities. But it’s also worth noting that the same metro ranked dead last in the leisure and hospitality sector.

The top three job sectors with the highest single metro rate of growth are information, manufacturing and professional and business services.

Overall, service-based job sectors are driving the total job growth in metropolitan U.S. The maps of education and health services, professional and business services, service providing, private service providing show predominant growth in most metros across the country.

On the other hand, the maps of Information, Financial Activities, Manufacturing and goods producing all show mostly declining job growth in most metros.

It’s positive to see places growing jobs, even if the baseline for comparison is a recession-caused low point. What’s disheartening to see is that even after more than two years, some areas and some sectors continue to lose jobs.

Photo credit: Larry Downing/Reuters

Nate Berg is a freelance reporter and a former staff writer for The Atlantic Cities. He lives in Los Angeles. All posts »

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