To listen to President Obama and the media, you would think America’s most pressing issues are gun control and immigration. But the issue that has plagued Obama from the start is job creation. Though unemployment has ticked down to 7.5 percent, the job numbers remain bleak when accounting for those underemployed or outside the workforce. Yet some areas of America are thriving, offering Obama a primer—if he wants it—for how to proceed.
Consider the recent Bureau of Labor Statistics data on 2012 job growth for America’s 51 largest metropolitan regions. The data include a list of the top ten, which were mostly above 3 percent job growth, and the bottom ten, which were mostly below 1 percent. Previously stagnant San Francisco made a surprise entry among the leaders, but for the most part, the list reflected longtime trends—with Houston, Dallas, and Austin remaining near the top, and even San Antonio, which didn’t crack the top ten, growing jobs at a respectable 2.27 percent rate. The fast-growing South saw three cities—Charlotte, Raleigh, and Nashville—make the top ten, while Salt Lake City represented the resource-rich Intermountain West. Oklahoma City, which led in 2011, still ranked in the upper third for 2012. Meanwhile, the bottom ten featured typical Rust Belt offenders such as St. Louis, Milwaukee, and Buffalo. Despite only documenting metro areas, the data underlay the continued shift in job growth from some regions to others. Another study shows why the shift has occurred.
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