Job Growth in America’s Metro Areas

By at 30 May, 2019, 2:10 pm

by Raymond J. Keating-

So, which metropolitan areas are excelling in terms of job growth?

SBE Council just took a look at the latest state data on employment, and now the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has released its latest report on “Metropolitan Area Employment and Unemployment.”

First, it’s interesting to note that employment growth was limited, as “46 metropolitan areas had over-the-year increases in nonfarm payroll employment and 343 were essentially unchanged.”

Second, in terms of large metropolitan areas, with populations of 1 million or more in the 2010 Census, employment rose in 27 of the 51 areas, with the other 24 experiencing no growth.

In percentage terms, here’s the list of metropolitan areas that experienced at least 3.0 percent nonfarm employment growth from April 2018 to April 2019:


Metropolitan Area

Percent Change in Employment,  April 2018 – April 2019
Auburn-Opelika, AL 3.4
Lake Havasu City-Kingman, AZ 3.3
Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ 3.2
Fresno, CA 3.8
Salinas, CA 3.2
Grand Junction, CO 3.0
Cape Coral-Fort Myers, FL 3.7
Lakeland-Winter Haven, FL 3.0
Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, FL 3.5
Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville, FL 3.7
Port St. Lucie, FL 3.7
Punta Gorda, FL 3.7
Sebastian-Vero Beach, FL 3.0
The Villages, FL 3.3
Gainesville, GA 5.2
Boise City, ID 3.9
Coeur d’Alene, ID 3.2
Idaho Falls, ID 4.6
Sioux City, IA 3.0
Carson City, NV 3.7
Reno, NV 5.6
Atlantic City-Hammonton, NJ 4.8
Ocean City, NJ 8.5
Asheville, NC 3.2
Chambersburg-Waynesboro, PA 3.1
Hilton Head Island-Bluffton-Beaufort, SC 3.0
Myrtle Beach-Conway-North Myrtle Beach, SC 4.0
Sioux Falls, SD 3.3
Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX 3.2
Midland, TX 3.6
Ogden-Clearfield, UT 4.1
Provo-Orem, UT 3.4
St. George, UT 4.4
Kennewick-Richland, WA 3.5
Olympia-Tumwater, WA 3.0
Walla Walla, WA 3.9
Wheeling, WV 5.3

Good Policy, Good Growth

The above list includes metropolitan areas centered in 18 states. Of those states, eight ranked in the top 10 on the “Small Business Policy Index 2019: Ranking the States on Policy Measures and Costs Impacting Entrepreneurship and Small Business Growth, and 13 came in among the top 26. Being in the top states on the Index, means a better policy environment for small business.

Most striking perhaps is the fact that 8 of the 18 metropolitan areas experiencing the fastest job growth over the past year were located in Florida. By the way, Florida ranked third best on the “Small Business Policy Index 2019.”

A wide array of factors play into business and investment decision-making, but public policy definitely matters. Just how costly are states and localities making it to do business in their respective states, cities and towns? The fact 8 of the best 10 states on the Index ranked among the fastest job growth states in the nation is illustrative, as is that eight of these areas were in the Sunshine State.


Raymond J. Keating is chief economist for the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council.

News and Media Releases