Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Where are the jobs?

With todays job market failing and so many people are unemployed I thought it might be important for others to know where to find the best cities for jobs.

According to US News the top 10 cities for finding jobs in 2009:

As the largest city in an isolated, sparsely populated state, Anchorage residents account for almost half of the total personal income in Alaska, according to the Anchorage Economic Development Corp. This is a young city, where the median age is just about 33, and payrolls continue to grow. Last year, in the depths of the recession, Anchorage officials proudly marked their city's 20th consecutive year of job growth.

While the city's crucial tourism and shipping industries have been bruised by the recession, jobs have been added in education and health services, and in government, which represents 20 percent of the city's jobs. Retailers also continue to move into Anchorage: Target, Kohl's, Lowe's, Best Buy, and the Sports Authority have opened new stores.

Arlington, Va.
As neighbor to the nation's capital, it's not particularly surprising that the federal government is Arlington's largest employer. The Department of Defense, the National Science Foundation and the State Department are among the employers here.

This concentration in government jobs has, not surprisingly, helped cushion Arlington during the downturn. But the county's economy is not wholly dependent on its proximity to Washington. Private companies have a significant place here as well. Among the largest private employers are US Airways, Booz Allen Hamilton, Lockheed Martin, and Marriott.

Columbus, Ohio
For one thing, Ohio's capital city is smack in the middle of the state--and pretty central for much of the country--and it boasts a strong transportation and distribution industry. Columbus's distribution employment has grown by a third since 2001, while the rest of the nation, on average, is down.

You can, however, thank the city's diverse economy for much of its resilience. Healthcare, hospitality, manufacturing, and even the tech industry contribute plenty of jobs. Some of the city's major employers include Ohio State University, OhioHealth, Nationwide Insurance, JPMorgan Chase, Bob Evans, and Limited Brands.

"We're a little bit better off than the U.S.," says Carl Bonham, a University of Hawaii--Manoa economics professor and executive director of the University of Hawaii Economic Research Organization.

Tourism rules Honolulu's economy, and many of its large employers are hotel chains. The jaw-dropping peak oil prices of last year, plus this recession's pullback in consumer spending, caused pain to the tourism industry nationwide, and Bonham doesn't expect Honolulu's tourism revenues will return to their peak for several years. But government is nearly a quarter of the city's employment, which helps bring stability to the larger economy. As well, the Bank of Hawaii and Queen's Medical Center are among the city's top employers. The most in-demand jobs over the next decade are expected to be in retail, higher education, and nursing.

Texas has proved enormously resilient during this recession. Unlike nearly all other metros, IHS is projecting that Texas cities will add jobs within the next year. The job markets in Dallas, San Antonio, Fort Worth, and Austin have all been steadier than average nationally.

You can also thank the world's dependence on fossil fuels for the state's success, particularly for the economic health in Houston. Houston is home to 27 Fortune 500 companies, including ConocoPhillips and Marathon Oil. While commodity prices have been volatile during the downturn, demand is climbing back up in part thanks to stimulus from overseas and the recovering U.S. economy, according to a report by the Dallas Fed. Like other steady cities, healthcare is an important part of Houston's economy. For example, the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Medical Center, one of the nation's top hospitals, employs more than 17,000 workers in Houston.

Oklahoma City
The strongest near-term growth will come from the professional and business services sector and the healthcare sector, Tomarelli says. Indeed, the city's economic expansion following the 2001 recession was broadly based. Local government and mining jobs grew the most rapidly. The city's economy has also been helped by the presence of the Tinker Air Force Base and nearby Oklahoma State University.

Salt Lake City
Salt Lake City boasts a diversified economy and is another spot rich in natural resources, including the one of the world's largest copper mines. The city's largest employers include Brigham Young University and the University of Utah, Intermountain Healthcare, and the Utah state government.

Shreveport, La.
Entertainment, such as gaming, is no small industry in this city, which has worked hard to recover from harder times. Leisure and hospitality employment has actually grown in the past 12 months. Shreveport also has a new $100 million convention center, the stabilizing force of Barksdale Air Force Base, and Louisiana State University-Shreveport.

The state will be in the top four for fewest jobs lost, according to IHS. One significant development is Haynesville Shale, a Jurassic-age rock settlement that may be the largest deposit of natural gas in the continental United States.

Tallahassee, Fla.
While the government sector is responsible for nearly a third of the city's employment, the city has also been helped by its universities--Florida State University and Florida A&M are both based in Tallahassee--as well as an economy driven largely by small businesses that may not have contracted as much in the recession, says J. Michael Pate, a program director for the Knight Foundation.

Wichita, Kan.
The Wichita housing market has resisted the wild swings in value that have done so much damage to other U.S. cities. The city even managed to add jobs last year.

Wichita's modern-day economy is still closely aligned with its past, when it earned the title "air capital." From the time local workers labored to build the Cessna Comet in 1917, aviation has been important to the city. Boeing, Cessna, and Hawker Beechcraft maintain a strong presence. While the aviation industry has been affected by the downturn, the local skill sets in Wichita are highly technical and specialized. Wichita's healthcare sector may be the strongest in the state--education and health services employment has risen 4 percent in the past year.

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