2011 List of Top Performing U.S. Cities for Jobs and Employment

A recent report by the Milken Institute identifies the top U.S. cities for job growth and improvement in 2011.

Although many U.S. cities are experiencing improvements in hiring and job growth, not all regions are recovering from the Great Recession at the same pace. In some areas, unemployment has dipped to around 6%, while other areas continue to report with double-digit unemployment numbers.

A recent study by the Milken Institute, a nonpartisan economic think tank, identifies the best performing cities for jobs in 2011 as well as specific metros that are underperforming against the national job market.

Among the study’s key findings:

  • Underlying structural performance is a major factor in job performance. Texas metros continued to dominate the rankings, taking four of the Top 5 positions and nine of the Top 25. As an engine for job growth, Texas employers created one of every five jobs across the nation from June 2010 to June 2011.
  • San Antonio, Texas, captured the top spot on the list of the nation’s 200 large metros. The 2010 leader, Killeen-Temple-Fort Hood, Texas, dropped to the fifth position.
  • Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, Texas, claimed the top position among the country’s 10 largest metros and ranked 16th overall.
  • When it comes to small cities, Logan, Utah-Idaho, led the nation after placing 19th last year.
  • The award for most improved ranking goes to Merced, California, catapulting 105 positions to 63rd.

Other big gainers included: Worcester, Mass; San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, Calif.; Little Rock-North Little Rock-Conway, Ark.; and Springfield, Mass. Although there are a variety of factors at play in the nation’s most improved job markets, many technology heavy metros are experiencing recovering, while others are benefitting from increased demand for heavy durable manufacturing in both the domestic and international markets.

At the other end of the employment spectrum, biggest job decliners included: Lafayette, Louisiana; Visalia-Porterville, Calif.; Kansas City, Miss.-Kans.; Olympia, Wash.; and Manchester-Nashua, New Hampshire.

The current stability and growth of today’s regional markets may have significant long-term implications for these regions since areas that have already rebounded to pre-recession employments levels are positioned to capture a larger slice of the economic pie during the forthcoming period of economic expansion.

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One Response to “2011 List of Top Performing U.S. Cities for Jobs and Employment”

  1. Rishabh
    March 6, 2012 at 6:44 am #

    Being scared strikes me as a totally reasonable response to a job search in the best of times (and this is not the best of times). This stuff is hard. On graduation, I had the advantages of a degree and relatively little debt. I also had a relative who needed household help and company and was willing to offer housing in trade. The country was in better financial condition then (1999), though I was living in an area that’s in semi-permanent economic trouble. Even then, it was difficult to find work in a field related to my degree, and doubly difficult to convince employers in unrelated fields that I could learn what they needed me to know. Since them, I’ve been employed full-time about six months (when a job I was hired part-time for eventually went to full-time); more typically, I’ve hovered around 30-35 hours/week.

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