Most Metros Saw Job Gains in 12 Months Ending in February

(CN) – Nonfarm employment rose in an overwhelming majority of metropolitan areas according to a year-over-year analysis ending in February 2017, with Dallas, Texas, and Camden, New Jersey, leading the pack in job gains.

The U.S. Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics said Tuesday that nonfarm payroll employment — government-speak for jobs in manufacturing, construction and at goods-producing companies — rose in 34 of the 38 metropolitan divisions across the United States and fell in 4.

A metropolitan division is a section of what is economists call a metropolitan statistical area — defined by the government as an urbanized area of at least 2.5 million people.

Tuesday’s report covers the period extending from February 2016 to February 2017. According to bureau, the largest over-the-year percentage increase in employment for the period occurred in Camden, New Jersey, and Dallas-Plano-Irving, Texas, which each saw an jump of 3.7 percent.

Other communities seeing an increase in job growth of 2.5 percent or higher were Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Seattle-Bellevue-Everett, Washington; Fort Worth-Arlington, Texas; Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach-Deerfield Beach, Florida.; and Tacoma-Lakewood, Washington.

At the other end of the scale, the largest over-the-year percentage decrease in employment occurred in the Lawrence-Methuen-Salem area straddling the Massachusetts-New Hampshire border, which witnessed a decline of 1.1 percent.

Two of the remaining three metropolitan divisions that also say a decline in employment were in the Northeast.

Lynn-Saugus-Marblehead, Massachusetts, located north of Boston, saw a decline in employment of 0.2 percent, while Dutchess and Putnam counties in New York state, largely rural communities north of New York City, say a decline of 0.1 percent.

Rounding out the current list of job-losers is Lake and Kenosha counties on the Illinois-Wisconsin border, that saw a decline of 0.9 percent.

Unemployment Rates

Remember our definitions for “metropolitan division” and “metropolitan statistical area” above? Now we’ll add one more: the metropolitan area.

A metropolitan area is a region consisting of a densely populated urban core and its less-populated surrounding territories — think a city and its suburbs.

For government economists, to be considered a metropolitan area, requires a community to be a Census Bureau-defined urbanized area of at least 50,000 people.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics said last week that unemployment rates were lower in February than a year earlier in 274 of the 388 metropolitan areas, higher in 88, and unchanged in 26.

Ten metropolitan areas had jobless rates of less than 3 percent, and 11 areas had rates of at least 10 percent.

Nonfarm payroll employment increased over the year in 323 metropolitan areas, decreased in 64 areas, and was unchanged in 1 area.

The national unemployment rate in February was 4.9 percent, not seasonally adjusted, down from 5.2 percent a year earlier.

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