Jobs–Where They are Hot and Where They are Not — Part Two

Let’s start this one just as the one yesterday. Jobs are everything to an economy. Period. Once again I invoke the There Is No Such Thing As A National Economy clause — T I N S T A A N E — as the economy varies from one location to another. Each month the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports a broad array of employment and other data. Go take a look the variety that may surprise you.

Only 66 of the 410 Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs), Metros and Divisions (there is some duplication here) now have more jobs than ever before. That means that more than 80 percent of the MSAs (and the others) still have fewer jobs than the peak from 2003-2009. It’s still pretty ugly out there in many markets. And this is after spending $900 billion of stimulus. That $900 billion of stimulus essentially stimulated $900 billion in additional debt.

Sideline here. The reason the stimulus did not work was that the stimulus did nothing to help small business. It is estimated that small business (firms with less than 500 employees) created 70 percent of all jobs from 1950 through 2009. Pull out a sheet of paper and see how many pieces of legislation you can write down that actually enhanced business from the 2009 and subsequent stimulus programs. Not going to be a big tally. Forget the paper and get a note card…… 3 by 5 inches should do.

The U.S. currently has 3.2 million fewer jobs than as of January 1, 2008. And that number was 4.1 million less until the Bureau of Labor Statistics restated numbers last month. What a great way to add hundreds of thousands of jobs by merely using accounting (a blog to certainly follow here).

So where are the places in the U.S. that essentially have more jobs than ever (at least compared to the peak from 2003-2009)? The following table lists the top 30 places that have more jobs than in the peak prior to the recession of 2008-2009.

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The next question becomes essentially, who were the biggest losers? What locations have essentially lost the greatest percentage of jobs and are not yet back at levels seen from 2003 through 2009?

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As you read this, note that many states with some top-job growth MSAs also have some of the lower performance markets when it comes to job creation. Every market is local with respect to economics. Remember the T I N S T A A N E clause.

Want to see the entire group sorted by state and MSA?  Just click here open the  PDF.

Jobs are everything.



  1. Paul Rosado

    I think a good companion to Ted’s note is a short video about why the current recovery from the Great Recession been so mediocre. Ed Leamer of UCLA points out that the last three recessions have all had mediocre recoveries of both output and employment. His explanation is that changes in the manufacturing sector have changed the pattern of layoffs, recalls and hiring during recessions and recoveries. The conversation concludes with a discussion of the forces driving the changes in the labor market and the implications for manufacturing.

  2. Michael Snow

    How much of the job loss is due to greater efficiency?

    1. Ted C. Jones Post author

      The Center for Policy and Research noted that if productivity was reflected in wages, the minimum wage would be almost $22 per hour today.

      Another economist notes that from 1973 to 2011 worker productivity rose 80.4 percent while real (inflation adjusted) median hourly income including benefits grew just 10.7 percent. To read that full article click


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