New York Job Gains Improve, Dallas and Houston Continue to Lead

New York job gains showed notable improvement in the most recent employment data release, placing the market back into a top-three spot with leaders Dallas and Houston.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Dallas remained the nation’s job growth leader in 2019, adding 108,400 jobs. That performance was a sizable 41,400 jobs ahead of the increase this Texas market saw in 2018. Job additions in Dallas in 2019 translated into 4% growth to the existing employment base, the largest increase seen across the nation’s 50 largest apartment markets.

Meanwhile, Houston gained 88,000 jobs in 2019, growing the employment base by 2.8%.

After New York job gains dropped sharply in recent months, the market rebounded by the end of 2019, with annual job gains totaling 81,700 positions. This was quite an improvement over the 77,300 units added in the year-ending November, but still well below the market’s decade average of nearly 96,000 jobs per year.

Growing by roughly 50,000 to 70,000 jobs in the past year were Phoenix, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Seattle, Washington, DC and San Francisco. Of those, Phoenix moved up the most in the rankings, going from #7 last month to #4 in December. Rounding out the top 10 was Orlando, which replaced Boston with the gain of 43,300 jobs.

Seven of this month’s top 10 growth markets gained at least 60,000 jobs, one more than last month. However, the spread between #1 and #10 grew in December to more than 65,000 jobs, compared to 60,000 last month.

All but two of the top 10 markets saw more jobs gained in the 12 months ending in December than in the 12-month period ending in November. Upturns were most notable in Phoenix and San Francisco, which created roughly 12,000 more jobs than what was gained in the year-ending November. Los Angeles and Washington, DC, on the other hand, logged declines of 14,000 and 8,500 jobs, respectively.

Compared to 2018 numbers, San Francisco was the only market in the top 10 to see job gains weaken in 2019. This market slowed by 11,600 jobs in the past year. Every other market saw improvement. Dallas and Los Angeles logged an increase in annual job gains of more than 30,000 jobs compared to last year, while Seattle and Washington, DC jumped about 20,000 jobs over last year’s pace. Houston, Atlanta and New York added about 13,000 to 14,000 more jobs to their annual gains than last year, while Phoenix and Orlando showed only moderate improvement in annual job gains.

Total gains of the top 10 national markets combined increased from November, up 5.5% or about 35,700 more jobs added. The 688,800 jobs added in the top 10 markets comprised 32% of the total U.S. employment gain for the year.

Seven of the next 10 in the top 20 spots were returning metros. Austin was the big gainer, jumping from #19 in November to #11 in December with the 37,800 jobs created compared to an annual gain of 29,000 jobs in November. Chicago and Charlotte returned to the top 20 in December as Las Vegas and Philadelphia slipped back. The remaining six markets didn’t move far from their previous rankings.

Outside of the top 10 list, the largest improvements in annual job gains occurred in Raleigh/Durham, San Antonio, and Nassau County-Suffolk County, NY, with an average increase of about 16,600 additional jobs gained than the year before.

There were several metros that saw annual job gains slow by at least 10,000 jobs from the previous 12 months. In addition to San Francisco, significant slowing in job gains occurred in Detroit, Sacramento, Pittsburgh, Chicago, Nashville, and Memphis.

Thirteen of RealPage’s top 150 metros lost jobs in 2019, the same as last month but three fewer than last year. Tulsa, Memphis and Toledo were the only markets of significant size that lost jobs in December.

Dallas, Seattle, Austin, and Raleigh/Durham were the major markets to make the top 10 list of metro areas for job growth as a percentage of total employment for December 2019. However, returning smaller metros to the top 10 growth list are Reno, NV, Wilmington, NC, Myrtle Beach, SC, Fayetteville, AR, Champaign-Urbana, IL, and Provo, UT. Several Florida markets that had been consistently on this list have fallen off recently.

Comparing current annual job growth rates with those from one year ago for the top 10 markets, only Champaign-Urbana, IL went from loss to growth. Looking at the greatest change in growth rates from one year ago for all 150 markets, Champaign-Urbana, IL, Wilmington, NC, Raleigh/Durham, Lincoln, NE, and Fayetteville, AR improved by at least 250 basis points (bps). Metros with declining growth rates include: Midland/Odessa, TX (-1,140 bps), Columbus, GA (-320 bps), Reno, NV (-270 bps), Springfield, MO (-260 bps), and Pensacola, FL (-260 bps). Most of these experienced deepening job losses, with only Reno and Pensacola continuing to see job growth in 2019.