Job Gains Increase in Top Markets

Despite slowing employment gains at the national level, several of the top markets for job gains increased payrolls in April.

Seven of this month’s top 10 markets for employment gains increased their 12-month totals from March by an average of 14,500 jobs, according to data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The remaining three markets had only slight decreases to their annual job gain totals from the previous month.

Eight of March’s top 10 job creation markets returned in April with a few changing places.

New York remained in the #1 spot with 107,300 jobs gained for the year-ending April, increasing by 36,100 jobs from March. Houston returned at #2 with a gain of 80,700 jobs through April, up 13,300 jobs for the month.

Dallas edged Phoenix out of the #3 spot with 53,600 jobs gained, adding 10,300 more than in March. Phoenix slipped to the #4 spot by dropping 2,100 jobs to total 50,700 new jobs through April.

Las Vegas moved up to the #5 spot, gaining 43,000 jobs for the year, up 8,400 jobs from March’s total. Philadelphia moved up two spots to #6 with 39,500 jobs gained, also up by about 8,000 jobs from last month. Atlanta joined the top 10 list this month at #7 with 38,800 new jobs, 9,400 more than in March.

Miami dropped to #8 this month, gaining 37,300 jobs, close to their total last month, while Los Angeles rejoined the top job gain list at #9 with 32,600 jobs gained, up by almost 16,000 jobs. Sacramento fell three places to #10 with 31,100 jobs gained, even with their total last month.

The total number of jobs gained for the year-ending April for the top 10 markets was up about 98,000 jobs from their collective total last month. The next 10 markets (#11-#20) saw their combined annual jobs gains increase by about 10,000 jobs.

For the first time since last December, at least one of the top 10 markets exceeded 100,000 jobs gained for the year while only three gained between 50,000 and 99,999 jobs, equal to last month. Twelve markets reported annual job losses for the year, three more than last month.

Like annual job gains, the annual percentage change in employment saw some improvement as well with the top seven markets increasing employment growth rates from March. Six of last month’s top employment growth markets returned in April and several changed places.

Myrtle Beach, SC jumped to the #1 spot in April with 5.3% employment growth, up 130 basis points (bps) from last month. Carolina coastal neighbor Charleston ranked #2 with 4.5% growth, increasing 40 bps from March.

Another tourism hotspot – Las Vegas – placed third for job growth with 3.9% growth, followed by College Station, TX with 3.6% growth, with both gaining about 60 to 70 bps from March.

Fayetteville, AR, Huntsville, AL and Oklahoma City tied for #5 with 3% growth, but although each improved 30 to 50 bps from last month, only Fayetteville improved from last year (+20 bps).

Rounding out the top 10, Sacramento, Miami and Vallejo/Fairfield/Napa, CA tied with 2.9% employment growth. Sacramento and Miami slipped about 10 to 20 bps from last month, but Vallejo/Fairfield/Napa cooled by 60 bps.

As mentioned, seven of this month’s top 10 growth markets improved from last month, with three declining. Compared to last year, five markets had lower job growth rates and five had higher rates. They ranged from an improvement of 200 bps in Vallejo/Fairfield/Napa to a decrease of 140 bps in Huntsville, AL.

Outside of the top growth markets, Stockton-Lodi, CA, New Haven, CT, Santa Rosa, CA, Boulder, CO and Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT saw their job growth rates increase by 100 bps or more from last year. Meanwhile, Midland/Odessa, Chattanooga, Knoxville, Orlando, Nashville, Shreveport, LA, Portland, OR and Denver fell by at least 300 bps from last year’s job growth.

Major markets with employment declines are Portland, OR, Memphis, New Orleans, San Francisco, and Milwaukee. Sub-0.5% growth markets include Chicago, Cincinnati, Denver, San Francisco, Milwaukee and Knoxville, TN. Sub-1% growth major markets include Baltimore, San Jose, Boston, Detroit, Cincinnati, Chicago, Nashville, Washington, DC, Los Angeles, Cleveland, Oakland and San Diego. Sixty markets had annual job growth rates above the not seasonally adjusted national average of 1.8%, five fewer than in March.