2017 How We Pick the Best Cities for Job Growth

The methodology for our 2017 ranking, which seeks to measure the robustness of metro areas’ growth both recently and over time, largely corresponds to that used in previous years. The ranking is based on U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics “state and area” unadjusted employment data reported from November 2005 to January 2017.

The data reflect the North American Industry Classification System categories, including total nonfarm employment, manufacturing, financial services, business and professional services, educational and health services, information, retail and wholesale trade, transportation and utilities, leisure and hospitality, and government.

We used five measures of growth to rank MSAs over the past 10 years. “Large” areas include those with a current nonfarm employment base of at least 450,000 jobs. “Midsize” areas range from 150,000 to 450,000 jobs. “Small” areas have as many as 150,000 jobs. The total number of MSAs included in this year’s rankings is 421.

The index is calculated from a normalized, weighted summary of: 1) recent growth trend: the current and prior year’s employment growth rates, with the current year emphasized (two points); 2) mid-term growth: the average annual 2011-2016 growth rate (two points); 3) long-term momentum: the sum of the 2011-2016 and 2005-2010 employment growth rates multiplied by the ratio of the 2005-2010 growth rate over the 2011-2016 growth rate (one point); 4) current year growth (one point); and 5) the average of each year’s growth rate, normalized annually, for the last 10 years (two points).  The goal of our methodology is to capture a snapshot of the present and prospective employment outlook in each MSA, and these revisions allow the reader to have a better sense of the employment climate in each.