MSA Employment Report for the Year Ending August 2018

Thursday, October 4, 2018

HFF is pleased to report on MSA Employment for the year ending August 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. 

Employment Growth Rankings

New York, Dallas and Houston were the only MSAs able to create more than 100,000 jobs. The top 11 MSAs were able to create more than 50,000 jobs.

Employment in national HFF markets grew by 2.06 percent in the 12 months ending August 2018, and, having added 1,253,800 jobs during the year, accounted for 51.7 percent of the nation’s headline growth. The top 10 expanding employment bases below combined to account for approximately 33.7 percent of the nation’s overall growth in the past year.



Altering our perspective to percentage growth (to level the playing field), we see that Houston, Dallas, Seattle, Phoenix, and Orlando remain in the top 10. Large markets such as New York, Los Angeles and Chicago now lag given their respective percentage growth rates below 1.92 percent, the median of the 50 markets below. Orlando, Seattle, Las Vegas, Houston, Phoenix, Riverside, Austin, Dallas, Raleigh, Jacksonville and San Jose lead the markets with growth rates above three percent. 

Employment growth continues to be strong, with approximately 33 markets now expanding at a rate in excess of 1.5 percent, and 30 markets exceeding the national average.



Historical Employment Growth (Five-Year Lookback)

Here we can see that employment growth for 58 percent of the MSAs are accelerating compared with last year. Forty percent have growth rates closer to their five-year maximum than their five-year minimum.


Forcasted Employment Growth (Growth Slows)

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 all major MSAs tracked.



Unemployment Rate and Labor Force Growth

Here we can see that the Unemployment Rate is falling for 45 of our 50 MSAs. Note that labor force growth is important in this narrative:

  • Boston’s labor force grew by 4.8 percent year-over-year and still managed to have the eighth lowest unemployment rate of 3.3 percent.
  • However, Newark’s labor force shrunk by (-0.9 percent), contributing to the decline in unemployment from five to 4.5 percent.

A total of 15 MSAs saw their labor force decline in the past year.

How to read: The vertical lines shows the range of the unemployment rate for the last two years.  The box shows the year-over-year change of the Unemployment Rate. If the box is orange, the Unemployment Rate has decreased (the bottom of the box is the current rate and the top is last year's rate).  If the box is clear, it has increased (the top of the box is the current rate and the bottom is last year's rate).



Thirty-three of our tracked MSAs have an unemployment rate less than the national level and 33 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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