With the London 2012 Summer Olympics in the history books, you may be suffering from OWS, Olympic Withdrawal Syndrome. As a public service, this week’s Good News Friday presents the Labor Market Olympics in which we award gold, silver and bronze medals to the top three metropolitan areas in each of the nine census divisions, ranked by the percentage of jobs lost from the Great Recession that they have recovered.
The strongest of the nine census divisions by far is the West South Central division, which benefits from energy production. Austin, Texas, takes the overall gold medal as the strongest market in the strongest census division with a recovery rate of 254%, meaning that it has created about 2 ½ times as many jobs since the recession ended as it lost as a result of the recession. Houston and San Antonio, Texas, took the silver and bronze in this division, both with recovery rates of 160%.
Although no other census division can match the West South Central’s performance, each has its own gold medalists, which include (from west to east): San Francisco, Denver, Omaha, Neb., Nashville, Tenn., Columbus, Ohio, Pittsburgh, Washington, D.C. and Boston. All of these metropolitan areas have recovery rates well above the U.S. average of 46%, although only a few have recovered all of their lost jobs and moved on to set new personal bests. This latter group includes Washington, D.C., Pittsburgh and New York City as well as the three Texas metro areas mentioned above.
For commercial real estate investors, job growth is one of the most important economic indicators to consider in the decision on where to buy, although other factors such as barriers to entry are important, too. The West and South will continue to grow at a faster pace than the Northeast and Midwest, but strong contenders for investment capital can be found in all regions of the country.