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The 25 metro areas with the fastest job growth

At the beginning of August, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released final employment numbers for the first half of 2017. Though some aspects of the American economy are struggling, one thing remains clear–the job market is continuing to grow.

In the first two quarters of this year, employers added an impressive 1,081,000 jobs, a continuation of exciting growth dating back to the end of the Great Recession. In addition, the national unemployment rate hit a low not seen since 2001.

While employment has clearly been growing nationally, researchers at ConsumersAdvocate.org wanted to see which cities are leading the pack. To find out where the most exciting job growth occurred, they dove into the most recent BLS Metro Area Employment Report and calculated seasonally adjusted growth rates for every major metro area.

Driven by expansion in Hospitality and Leisure, Health and Education Services, and Professional and Business Services, employment growth in the 25 cities below is between 1.7X and 3.5X the 2017 national average growth rate of .7%.

Methodology

Using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, we identified metro areas with the greatest employment growth rate from January to June of 2017. In order to be included in our list, each metro area had to employ at least 250k people as of June 2017. Employment numbers are seasonally adjusted and only include non-farm employees. The data was pulled on August 20th 2017 and originally published on ConsumersAdvocate.org.

Here are the top 25 metro areas with the fastest growing job markets for 2017:


Photo Credit: Wikipedia

25. Omaha, Nebraska-Council Bluffs, Iowa
Difference from National Average: 1.7X
Jobs Added: 6,100
Total Employment: 507,600
2017 Growth Rate: 1.22%

The Omaha-Council Bluffs metropolitan area consists of eight counties – five in Nebraska and three in Iowa. The region’s largest city is Omaha, which is home to four Fortune 500 companies, including Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway. The region increased its employment by 1.22%, adding 6,100 new jobs to its solid, steady economy.


Photo Credit: Wikipedia

24. Lancaster, Pennsylvania
Difference from National Average: 1.8X
Jobs Added: 3,100
Total Employment: 252,400
2017 Growth Rate: 1.23%

Located in the heart of Amish Country, Lancaster has been growing steadily as it diversifies its economy and renovates its downtown and industrial areas. The national average for job growth is 0.7% but Lancaster nearly doubled that at 1.23%, adding 3,100 new jobs.


Photo Credit: Wikipedia

23. El Paso, Texas
Difference from National Average: 1.8X
Jobs Added: 3,900
Total Employment: 317,700
2017 Growth Rate: 1.24%

Situated on the banks of the Rio Grande River, El Paso has been consistently ranked as one of the safest large cities in America. It is also home to many energy companies, and has a sizeable military and government presence. So far in 2017, El Paso experienced a 1.24% job increase, adding 3,900 new jobs to its economy.


Photo Credit: Wikipedia

22. Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, Connecticut
Difference from National Average: 1.8X
Jobs Added: 5,100
Total Employment: 412,700
2017 Growth Rate: 1.25%

The Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk Metro area comprises the largest population center in Connecticut and it is also a major business and financial center. It is home to a multitude of Fortune 500 companies including banks, hedge funds and technology companies. Its job base grew by 1.25%, adding 5,100 new jobs, bringing its overall total to 412,700.


Photo Credit: Wikipedia

21. Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, Oregon-Washington
Difference from National Average: 1.8X
Jobs Added: 14,600
Total Employment: 1,171,600
2017 Growth Rate: 1.26%

This tri-city area on the Oregon and Washington border is known as the Greater Portland Metro area and is renowned for its environmentally conscious reputation and vast network of public transportation. Nicknamed the “City of Roses”, this area added 14,600 new jobs – an increase of 1.26% – bringing its overall jobs total to 1,171,600.


Photo Credit: Wikipedia

20. West Palm Beach-Boca Raton-Delray Beach, Florida
Difference from National Average: 1.9X
Jobs Added: 8,100
Total Employment: 622,800
2017 Growth Rate: 1.32%

The metropolitan area that includes these three coastal Florida cities has experienced a recent increase in population, no doubt partly attributable to its beautiful beaches and warm winter weather. The region has also added more new jobs to its economy – 8,100 additional jobs which represents a 1.32% increase in its employment numbers.


Photo Credit: Wikipedia

19. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Difference from National Average: 1.9X
Jobs Added: 8,500
Total Employment: 636,600
2017 Growth Rate: 1.35%

Oklahoma City is the state capital and largest city in Oklahoma. Though oil and natural gas companies are the most prominent local businesses, Oklahoma City is also home to one of the world’s largest livestock markets. So far in 2017, its total number of employees increased 1.35% (8,500 new jobs), bringing its overall total to 636,600.


Photo Credit: Wikipedia

18. Raleigh, North Carolina
Difference from National Average: 2X
Jobs Added: 8,600
Total Employment: 617,900
2017 Growth Rate: 1.41%

Known as the “City of Oaks” and part of the famous Research Triangle area, Raleigh is one of the fastest growing cities in the country. Home to North Carolina State University, Raleigh has added 8,600 jobs this year, bringing its total number of employees to 617,900.


Photo Credit: Wikipedia

17. McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, Texas
Difference from National Average: 2.1X
Jobs Added: 3,700
Total Employment: 258,800
2017 Growth Rate: 1.45%

These three South Texas cities are located in a single county – Hidalgo – and it’s the 5th most populated area in the state of Texas. This region continues to enjoy steady growth, due to NAFTA and its Maquiladora economy. The area has added 3,700 new jobs, representing a 1.45% increase in its overall employment numbers.


Photo Credit: Wikipedia

16. Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, Texas
Difference from National Average: 2.1X
Jobs Added: 44,900
Total Employment: 3,056,000
2017 Growth Rate: 1.49%

Houston is the most populous city in Texas and combined with The Woodlands and Sugar Land, it is one of the largest metropolitan areas in the U.S. This area is home to more Fortune 500 headquarters than almost any other region and this is reflected in its job numbers. Experiencing a 1.49% increase, the region added 44,900 new jobs, bringing its total to 3,056,000.


Photo Credit: Wikipedia

15. Richmond, Virginia
Difference from National Average: 2.1X
Jobs Added: 10,000
Total Employment: 677,100
2017 Growth Rate: 1.5%

Richmond is the capital of the Commonwealth of Virginia and its economy is largely driven by law, finance, and government. It’s also home to one of the 12 Federal Reserve Banks. In 2017, Richmond added 10,000 new jobs to its economy – an increase of 1.5% – bringing its total number of jobs to 677,100.


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14. Kansas City, Missouri
Difference from National Average: 2.3X
Jobs Added: 9,900
Total Employment: 618,300
2017 Growth Rate: 1.63%

Kansas City is the largest city in Missouri and one of the largest metropolitan areas in the Midwest. Famous for its steaks, ribs and jazz music, Kansas City’s largest employer is the federal government, with more than 146 agencies located there. The city recently added 9,900 new jobs – a 1.63% increase – bringing its jobs total to 618,300.


Photo Credit: Wikipedia

13. Lake County-Kenosha County, Illinois-Wisconsin
Difference from National Average: 2.4X
Jobs Added: 6,800
Total Employment: 415,800
2017 Growth Rate: 1.66%

Lake County is located in the northeastern corner of Illinois and across the Wisconsin state line is Kenosha County. Together, they make up a large commercial and residential area on the western shore of Lake Michigan. Its job base recently expanded by 1.66%, adding 6,800 new jobs, bringing its total to 415,800.


Photo Credit: Wikipedia

12. Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, Florida
Difference from National Average: 2.4X
Jobs Added: 20,700
Total Employment: 1,245,200
2017 Growth Rate: 1.69%

These three central Florida cities comprise an area known as Greater Orlando. Nicknamed “The City Beautiful” and referred to as the “Theme Park Capital of the World”, Greater Orlando has experienced consistently steady growth. The region has added 20,700 new jobs, bringing its overall jobs number to 1,245,200 – a 1.69% increase.


Photo Credit: Wikipedia

11. Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, Georgia
Difference from National Average: 2.4X
Jobs Added: 45,900
Total Employment: 2,757,800
2017 Growth Rate: 1.69%

Metro Atlanta is the largest metropolitan area in Georgia and the 9th largest metropolitan area in the U.S. It is also a major transportation hub and home to the world’s busiest airport. This region experienced a 1.69% uptick in its job numbers, adding a total of 45,900 new jobs to its economy.


Photo Credit: Wikipedia

10. North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton, Florida
Difference from National Average: 2.5X
Jobs Added: 5,300
Total Employment: 305,600
2017 Growth Rate: 1.76%

This tri-city metropolitan area is located in the Gulf region of southwestern Florida and is renowned for its beaches, resorts, and environmental and cultural facilities. This region experienced a 1.76% increase in new jobs, adding 5,300 jobs, bringing its overall total to 305,600.


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9. Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, Minnesota-Wisconsin
Difference from National Average: 2.5X
Jobs Added: 35,000
Total Employment: 2,006,700
2017 Growth Rate: 1.78%

Sixteen counties make up this tri-city region, though the primary metropolitan area consists of the Twin Cities – Minneapolis and St. Paul. This area is home to sixteen Fortune 500 companies and is also a major banking and manufacturing center. The region also supports a total of 2,006,700 jobs and recently it added an additional 35,000 jobs, an increase of 1.78%.


Photo Credit: Wikipedia

8. Harrisburg-Carlisle, Pennsylvania
Difference from National Average: 2.6X
Jobs Added: 6,200
Total Employment: 346,100
2017 Growth Rate: 1.82%

The Harrisburg-Carlisle metropolitan area is located in the southeast corner of Pennsylvania and is home to a diverse group of healthcare, technology and biotechnology businesses. It is also home to the sweet-smelling town of Hershey, Pennsylvania. This region added 6,200 new jobs – an increase of 1.82% – bringing its total to 346,100.


Photo Credit: Wikipedia

7. Durham-Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Difference from National Average: 2.9X
Jobs Added: 6,200
Total Employment: 313,400
2017 Growth Rate: 2.02%

Durham is home to Duke University and Chapel Hill is home to the University of North Carolina. Both universities are large employers in the region, along with insurance, banking and pharmaceutical companies. The number of new jobs in the region expanded by 6,200 – a 2.02% increase – bringing its total jobs to 313,400.


Photo Credit: Wikia

6. Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers, Arkansas
Difference from National Average: 3.1X
Jobs Added: 5,400
Total Employment: 253,600
2017 Growth Rate: 2.18%

These three cities in northwest Arkansas comprise a region that is one of the fastest growing areas in the country. Its population has nearly doubled in the past ten years. Accordingly, it has also added 5,400 new jobs, bringing its total number of jobs to 253,600.


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5. Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, California
Difference from National Average: 3.2X
Jobs Added: 6,700
Total Employment: 309,600
2017 Growth Rate: 2.21%

These three California cities are linked by the original Pacific Coast Highway and they include a mix of small industry, agriculture, and residential areas. Ventura also has a popular beach coastline. The region’s job numbers grew by 2.21%, adding 6,700 new jobs, for a total of 309,600 jobs.


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4. Ft. Lauderdale-Pompano Beach-Deerfield Beach, Florida
Difference from National Average: 3.3X
Jobs Added: 19,500
Total Employment: 851,800
2017 Growth Rate: 2.34%

This metropolitan area in South Florida is a major tourist destination and is renowned for its beaches, sunshine, golf courses and nightclubs. It is also a central hub for the international cruise ship industry. This region added 19,500 new jobs to its employment ranks – a 2.34% increase – bringing its jobs total to 851,800.


Photo Credit: Wikipedia

3. Chattanooga, Tennessee-Georgia
Difference from National Average: 3.4X
Jobs Added: 6,100
Total Employment: 260,700
2017 Growth Rate: 2.4%

This metropolitan area consists of six counties – three in southeast Tennessee and three in northwest Georgia – though the principal city is Chattanooga. A major business and transit hub, Chattanooga claims to have the fastest Internet in the Western Hemisphere. Its job numbers have also been growing rapidly, adding 6,100 new jobs – a 2.4% increase – bringing its jobs total to 260,700.


Photo Credit: Wikipedia

2. Des Moines-West Des Moines, Iowa
Difference from National Average: 3.4X
Jobs Added: 8,700
Total Employment: 370,300
2017 Growth Rate: 2.41%

This region in Central Iowa expanded its job base by 2.41%, adding 8,700 new jobs to its employment ranks, bringing its jobs total to 370,300. Small wonder then that Forbes Magazine twice ranked Des Moines as the “Best Place for Business” in America.


Photo Credit: Wikipedia

1. Jacksonville, Florida
Difference from National Average: 3.5X
Jobs Added: 16,400
Total Employment: 690,500
2017 Growth Rate: 2.43%

Topping our list is Jacksonville, the most populous city in Florida and also a major financial, cultural and commercial center. It is home to the University of Florida and the city has been hosting the Gator Bowl since 1946. Jacksonville increased its job numbers by 2.43%, roughly 3.5X the national average, for an overall total of 690,500.