Metro Job Recovery in 2011

The latest BLS release for metro area unemployment has full year averages for 2011 available, so we can see which cities added the most jobs last year. On the whole, it was a much better year for metros than we’ve seen in the recent past. The national economy added jobs, and all but two large metros did as well. New York City added the most jobs of any region, but given that it is far and away the biggest city in America, it should do so. NYC ranked only the middle of the pack on a percentage growth basis. On that measure, Austin, Texas was number one.  read more »

On The Move

Overall migration rates in America appear to be down in the wake of the Great Recession, reaching the lowest levels recorded since the 1940's. While some statisticians argue that changes in data collection over time have led to an overstatement of such changes, there seems little doubt that "interstate migration has been trending downward for many years," regardless of recent recessionary effects. That said, Americans remain a mobile people.  read more »

In Keystone XL Rejection, We See Two Americas At War With Each Other

America has two basic economies, and the division increasingly defines its politics. One, concentrated on the coasts and in college towns, focuses on the business of images, digits and transactions. The other, located largely in the southeast, Texas and the Heartland, makes its living in more traditional industries, from agriculture and manufacturing to fossil fuel development.  read more »

The Hardest Job To Fill In 2012? A Look At The Supply of Web Developers

Keith Cline at has a fresh look at one of the enduring, and perplexing, stories of 2011 — the skills shortage. Even with 13.3 million Americans unemployed, and millions more underemployed, there are industries severely lacking in skilled talent.

Cline provided five loose job titles/duties that employers will have a hard time filling as 2012 starts. Chief among them: software engineers and web developers.  read more »

Manufacturing Executives Predict Jobs will Return to the U.S.

A recent poll of 3,000 C-level manufacturing company executives found that 85% see certain manufacturing functions returning to the U.S., citing increasing costs overseas (37%), logistics/delivery demands (20%), quality issues (7%) and other reasons (37%).

From the Cook Associates Survey:  read more »

Interactive Data Visualization: The Connection Between Manufacturing Jobs and Exports

By Hank Robison and Rob Sentz

We recently observed that there are only about 50 manufacturing sectors out of 472 (6-digit NAICS) that actually gained jobs over the past 10 years. This made us wonder because we keep hearing that manufacturing output is actually improving. Politicians and policymakers tend to assume that an uptick in output would naturally result in an uptick in employment. So we investigated.  read more »

Avent on Cities: Understanding Part of the Equation

Ryan Avent hits a home run, strikes out and earns a "yes, but," all in the same article ("One Path to Better Jobs: More Density in Cities") in The New York Times.  read more »

Interactive Graphic: Job Growth by Sector for all Counties in the Nation

The fully interactive map below indicates job growth and decline for all US counties from 2006 to 2011. These show up as hot or cold spots; red for growth, blue for decline. You can select a state to zoom in on and find a county that way, or simply click on a county to drill in. Once you’ve chosen a county, the table under the map will show you job numbers by industry category.  read more »

Sizing Up Texas’ Job Growth Under Rick Perry

Now that Texas Gov. Rick Perry is officially in the running for the Republican presidential nomination, journalists and econ bloggers from almost every national news outlet have examined the Texas’ economy in excruciating detail. The fact that Texas has produced nearly 40% of all new jobs in the US since 2009 has been regurgitated over and over again, and the state’s remarkable population spike has repeatedly been cited as a reason for the big employment growth.  read more »

Houston's Not Resilient? Really?

Alert reader Jessie sent me this article about Houston ranking "very low" on a "resilience capacity index".  For real.  I was dumbfounded too. And now I'm going to post out-of-character and get a little snippy...  read more »