MSA Employment Report for the Year Ending May 2018

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

HFF is pleased to report on MSA Employment for the year ending May 2018. Our research team analyzes trends and data to give readers a better view into the current state of the economy and how employment is being affected. Please note that we have added several new sections to the report to better explain the employment situation. 

Dallas and New York were the only MSAs able to create more than 100,000 jobs. The top six MSAs were able to create more than 50,000 jobs. Employment in national HFF markets grew by 1.80 percent in the 12 months ending May 2018 and, having added 1,101,900 jobs during the year, accounted for 46.5 percent of the nation’s headline growth. The top 10 expanding employment bases below combined to account for approximately 29.8 percent of the nation’s overall growth in the past year.

Growth Rankings

Altering our perspective to percentage growth (to level the playing field), we see that Riverside, Dallas, Seattle, Orlando and Phoenix remain in the top 10. Large markets such as New York, Los Angeles and Chicago now lag given their respective percentage growth rates below 1.64 percent, the median of the 50 markets below. Orlando, Dallas, Seattle, Austin, Jacksonville, San Jose, Riverside, Phoenix and Raleigh lead the markets with the only growth rates above three percent.

The employment recovery is definitely still underway, with approximately 28 markets now expanding at a rate in excess of 1.5 percent and 26 markets exceeding the national average. 

Historical Growth

Here we can see that employment growth for 56 percent of the MSAs are accelerating compared with last year. Thirty-two percent have growth rates closer to their five-year maximum than their fve-year minimum.

Forcasted Employment Growth

Here we look at the difference between the five-year annualized forecasted employment growth and the annualized growth we’ve seen in the past five years. Growth is forecasted to slow substantially for most MSAs with only Virginia Beach and Newark forecasted to have an increased rate.

Unemployment and Labor Force Growth

Here we can see that the unemployment rate is falling for all MSAs with the exception of only Detroit and Kansas City. However, note that labor force growth is important in this narrative: 

  • Denver’s labor force grew by 3.6 percent YOY and still managed to have the lowest unemployment rate of 2.3 percent. 
  • However, Newark’s labor force shrunk by (-2.4 percent), contributing to the decline in unemployment from 4.4 to 3.8 percent. 

A total of nine MSAs saw their labor force decline in the past year.

Thirty-four of our tracked MSAs have an unemployment rate less than the national level, and all but seven MSAs are below four percent.    

Sources: HFF Research, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Department of Labor, Bloomberg, Oxford Economics

Prepared by: National Research Analyst Laura Bancroft

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