3 cities losing the most jobs, 3 adding them

24/7 Wall St. looks at the job market across the US in 2012. Here are those with the biggest losses and those with the biggest gains.

By 247 Wall St. Dec 21, 2012 11:40AM
Business hand receiving a pink slip © Tom Grill, PhotographerBy Michael B. Sauter, Samuel Weigley and Alexander E. M. Hess http://247wallst.com/


Last month, the unemployment rate in the United States fell to 7.7% of the labor force. The last time unemployment was this low was four years ago this month. An estimated 134.74 million people worked in nonfarm jobs in October, an increase of 1.8 million from October 2011.


A major part of job growth occurred in America’s metropolitan areas. The Chicago, Houston, Dallas, Miami, Atlanta and D.C. regions alone combined for more than 555,000 newly employed people. While much of the total jobs growth occurred in these larger cities, several smaller regions, such as Elkhart, Indiana and Lafayette, Louisiana, benefited much more proportionally, increasing the number of jobs in their metropolitan areas by more than 5%.


Comparing October 2011 employment to October 2012 employment, 24/7 Wall St. has identified the U.S. cities with the biggest proportional increase in employment, and the cities with the biggest declines.

The cities that added jobs are located almost entirely in the South. The oil and energy industry was one sector that helped boost many of the cities’ labor forces. The number of jobs in the industry grew by 7.3% nationwide between October 2011 and October 2012.


Energy was not, however, the single cause of employment gains in the cities with the highest job growth. In many cases, the areas’ leading sectors simply increased hiring.


Elkhart, Ind., is one of the few remaining manufacturing-driven cities in the U.S. More than 60% of all jobs in October were in manufacturing. In the past 12 months, the region added more than 6,000 manufacturing jobs, which was greater than the total increase for the region in that time as some sectors lost jobs in the area.


These metro areas that added and lost the most jobs -- relative to total size of their working population -- are primarily smaller in population. Because of this, adding or losing a few thousand jobs was enough to substantially increase or decrease the employment situation in the region. 


These cities where jobs grew the most are not necessarily the best places to find a job. Of the metro areas with the biggest job growth, five still had unemployment rates above the national rate. In Rocky Mount, N.C., the October rate was 11.7%, much higher than the national rate of 7.9% that month. While some of these cities may be adding jobs, they have a long way to go before their economy can be considered healthy. The cities that lost the most jobs are also a mixed bag. Unemployment is below the national average in five, and above it in five.

Based on Bureau of Labor Statistics employment data, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the U.S. metropolitan statistical areas that had the largest percent increase in the number of employed people, and the 10 metropolitan statistical areas with the largest decrease. This calculation was based on a comparison of October 2011 and October 2012 non-seasonally adjusted employment figures the BLS provides. We also reviewed the sectors where jobs were added and lost in each of these metro areas.


These are the cities that added or lost the most jobs this year.


Cities that added the most jobs


1. Lafayette, La.

  • Employed pct. increase: 9.68%
  • Total employed increase: 13,127
  • Workforce: 152,720
  • Unemployment rate: 4.2%

More job growth took place in Lafayette than any other metro area in the country. Some of the new employment growth comes from new part-time positions in the restaurant and retail sector. But Anthony Greco, a professor at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, recently told a local newspaper, the Town Talk, that most of the new jobs in the area are well-compensated professional positions, notably in the financial sector. Lafayette has been a haven for the oil and gas industry, and with rising gas prices have come new jobs. Headcount for trade, transportation and utilities, the largest sector in the area, grew 7.4%.


2. Blacksburg-Christiansburg-Radford, Va.

  • Employed pct. increase: 7.17%
  • Total employed increase: 5,804
  • Workforce: 91,985
  • Unemployment rate: 5.6%

Joblessness in the Blacksburg-Christiansburg-Radford metro area has fallen significantly in the past several months. The unemployment rate of 5.6% in October was down from a yearly high of 7.2% just three months earlier -- more than 8% more jobs were available in October compared to July. City officials have credited Virginia Tech for directly and indirectly boosting jobs. However, manufacturing has also boomed in the area, with companies such as Phoenix Packaging and Aeroprobe moving jobs into the region.

3. Pascagoula, Miss.

  • Employed pct. increase: 5.68%
  • Total employed increase: 3,709
  • Workforce: 75,343
  • Unemployment rate: 8.5%

Although Pascagoula’s unemployment rate of 8.5% in October was higher than the national rate of 7.9%, it was still below Mississippi’s 8.9%. The largest job growth came in the mining, logging and construction sector, with a 28.6% increase in headcount compared to October 2011. A relatively large portion of Pascagoula’s labor force works in farm jobs. Due to the seasonal nature of farm jobs, the area's monthly unemployment fluctuates considerably.

Cities that lost the most jobs


1. Norwich-New London, Conn-R.I.

  • Employed pct. decrease: 3.47%
  • Total employed decrease: 4,838
  • Workforce: 147,986
  • Unemployment rate: 9.0%
No metropolitan area in the country experienced worse job loss in the past year than Norwich-New London. The unemployment rate of 9% in October was up from 8.2% at the same time last year. In recent months, such companies as AT&T and Pfizer cut jobs in the area, as did smaller companies. The government sector, which employs the most people in the area, declined by 4% over the year. Both New London’s municipal government and school district cut headcount in recent months.


2. Lawton, Okla.

  • Employed pct. decrease: 3.43%
  • Total employed decrease: 1,528
  • Workforce: 46,311
  • Unemployment rate: 7.0%

Lawton’s total non-farm jobs in October declined by 3.9% from October 2011. The financial services industry shrunk by 12% in this time, the biggest drop of all the major employment sectors. One employer, Assurant Solutions, which sells insurance products, has been in the process of laying off most of its 230 employees since April of this year. Other major declines in employment took place in the education and health services sector, where headcount was reduced by 10.3%, and in trade, transportation and utilities, where employment was down by 9%.


3. Hot Springs, Ark.

  • Employed pct. decrease: 3.11%
  • Total employed decrease: 1,234
  • Workforce: 41,360
  • Unemployment rate: 7.1%

The number of nonfarm jobs in Hot Springs was approximately 36,500 in October, down 2.1% from October 2011. Despite the loss in jobs, the unemployment rate in October was actually better than the 7.5% 12 months before due to a drop-off in the total labor force, as a net of more than 1,500 people exited the area’s workforce. There were 5,600 government jobs in the metropolitan area as of October, down 1.8% from the previous year.


Read 24/7 Wall St.'s full report "American cities adding (or losing) the most jobs," with the top 10 in each category.


Dec 21, 2012 2:28PM

I run a very successful business in Arizona with 75 employees and I`m hiring more in

2013.It`s all about good management and a good business plan.A couple of weeks ago

I gave all my employees a $1000 Christmas bonus and I hope to write more next

year.I pay my employees top dollar.When you give quality you get quality.

Dec 21, 2012 3:42PM
134.74 million people were working in october huh. 7.7% unemployment rate huh. ok, umm something is not right here. in this country the overall available workforce is somewhere around 187 million give or take. that leaves approximately 53 million people out of work, or 28.3% out of work how is  the unemployment rate 7.7%. using just simple math, the numbers provided in this article and the recent census report, our unemployment rate is in reality approximately 28.3%. things that make you say hhhmmmmmmm...
Dec 21, 2012 5:24PM
Another worthless media attempt to tell America everything is good.
How about this fact ?      50% of all new hires are either part time, or work 32 hours/week or less...meaning NO BENEFITS - NO HEALTH INSURANCE !!
KMA media !
Dec 21, 2012 5:19PM
All smoke and mirrors. Just people running out of benefits or getting low paying and part time work.
Dec 21, 2012 5:16PM

      Labor participation rate.

Dec 21, 2012 8:31PM
Great News! Back to polluting, burning, killing, digging, tearing, spilling and destroying everything within arms reach, just so we can buy more stuff then throw it in the dump when we get bored with it. Just so we can start all over polluting, burning, killing, tearing, spilling and destroying again and again and again, over and over and over.
W0W! What a great plan!
What a bunch of moorans that came up with this idea.
How about lets just burn our houses down and rebuild them, then burn them down, then rebuild them, then burn them down, then rebuild them, over and over and over?
LoL! Humans have got to be the stupidest species on this planet.
But after all, you are on a prison planet so I wouldn't expect too much from you.
Funny thing is, you all keep coming back over and over and over because you keep making the same stupid mistakes and missing the whole, "reason that you're here" big picture.
Next time the doctor slaps you in the butt and you cry like a baby because your soul realizes that you're back here yet another time, try harder, will you?

Dec 21, 2012 5:27PM

Such a travisty.......some one once said 'if we dont learn from our mistakes, we are bound to repeat them'

 So while people are bumping their gums about gun control, and insane people and sending kids to school with bullet proof back packs and hiring a police officer for every school in America, putting cameras at the door where a visitor has to push a button and be buzzed in;


 I hear a local news report that police responded to a high school where a young adult who was not a member of that high school was on property, walking around. The police responded and arrested the trespasser. Every body was walking around patting themselves on the back for their quick response and taking appropriate action.


 The report didnt say exactly what the trespasser was doing, why he was at the school, but no report of a gun or any thing like that was made. A school official says that all out side doors remain locked, except the front door, but there is a sign there saying "all visitors MUST report to the office and be logged in.


For PETE'S sake people!!!!!!! The killers at columbine waited for the resource officers to go outside and they locked them out, the killer in New Town broke a window (at the locked door, directly beside the button to let him in)........oh yeah they had signs too.......


.Here's a thought.....spend that money on building fences around the school to prevent some one from wandering onto the property and cover the fence with cameras. Lock all doors and fire any teacher found leaving an exterior door unlocked,


Put a security desk at the front entrance in a place where he/she can visually see who enters, require the visitor to put any bags on a conveyer belt and be inspected before openng the door and another locked door behind the security desk that can only be opened by a key pad code. The Security Officer can have a bank of monitors and watch for suspicious activity.


 Use some common sense. Turning a school into an armed camp is not acceptable (and yes I am a very strong supporter of the second ammendment, but believe that guns have a place and a time, and a school, church, or hopsital.......dare I say bar or sporting event>>>>>>is not one of those places.

Dec 22, 2012 10:57PM

So is the Lafayette growth primarily from retail/restaurant or financial sector jobs?


Cubicle Advisor


Dec 21, 2012 5:04PM
Congrats FoxyAZ. Blond... I'm going to bet that you hire the old fashioned way instead of retaining those "screening" companies. It was revealed this week (TV) that most corporations are taking the word of screeners before examining resumes. One screener declined a resume because the guy showed up late for work once (he was 16). Overall, screeners have directly wiped out the chances of employment for anyone who ever worked anywhere else before. They take the word of previous management verbatim without validation. I consider that to be purposeful terrorism. There is now a Federal Investigation into Data Mining and Screening businesses. If we are beginning to put the pieces together... we were attacked by bad Americans during the Bush Years and now, as America prepares to collapse, we find those same people whining about tax increases and pay caps. The pendulum swings...
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