In our latest piece for Forbes, we isolated four large regions and/or metro areas—Upstate New York, Bakersfield, Pittsburgh, and New Orleans—that bucked the national trend and noticeably increased their share of millennial workers from 2007 to 2013.
Here are the four compelling themes we found regarding the increase in the share of millennials by metro:
1. The Upswing in Upstate New York
Upstate New York shows up prominently in our research, both among large and small cities. Buffalo, Rochester, and (to a lesser degree) Syracuse have made noticeable strides in the share of millennials in their labor forces from 2007 to 2013. Even in much smaller Elmira, the share of millennials has jumped two percentage points, putting it fourth among all metro areas regardless of size, behind 1) Midland, Texas; 2) Odessa, Texas; and 3) Buffalo.
Millennial jobs jumped 9% in Buffalo-Niagara Falls and 6% in Rochester. In the Buffalo metro, three sectors were behind the growth: food prep and serving (34% growth from ’07 to ’13, an increase of 4,500 jobs), personal care and service occupations such as childcare workers (26%), and sales and related occupations (18%).
Rochester, like Buffalo, also had a surge of millennials land restaurant jobs during and after the recession (21% growth). In both metros, 35% of all young workers can be found in food prep and serving occupations. But Rochester also saw sizable millennial growth in health care practitioner occupations (15%) and business and financial operations occupations (13%).
2. Farming and STEM-Fueled Growth in Bakersfield, Other Parts of California
Among the largest 175 metros, Bakersfield had the second-fastest job growth rate for millennials from 2007 to 2013, at 11%. Only Kennewick-Pasco-Richland, Washington, grew faster (12%). Bakersfield also had the third-highest gain in the share of young workers, catapulting from 28% of all jobs in ’07 to roughly 30% in ’13.
Easily the fastest-growing sector for millennials in Bakersfield, an agriculture hotspot in the San Joaquin Valley, is farming, fishing, and forestry. More than 14,000 workers between 22 and 34 work in farming, fishing, and forestry occupations, an increase of 30% since 2007.
Bakersfield has also seen strong millennial growth in STEM fields—life, physical, and social science occupations jumped 29%; computer and math occupations increased 27%; and architecture and engineering occupations went up 19%, with the share of young workers going from 27% of all workers to 29%. Health care practitioners and health care support occupations also saw noteworthy gains.
Other agriculture-focused California metros (Modesto, Stockton, Fresno, and Napa) are in the top 50 among all metros for the increase in millennials compared to all workers. And Chico, San Luis Obispo, and Napa are in the top 10.
3. Conflicting Trends in Pittsburgh
No big city has a larger share of baby boomers in its workforce than Pittsburgh. Nearly 1 in 5 workers in 2013 (18%) were aged 55 to 64. But the Steel City also shows up fourth among large cities—behind Buffalo, Rochester, and Bakersfield—in its increase in the share of millennials (from 24.1% in 2007 to 25.6% in 2013).
Jobs for young workers in Pittsburgh grew 6% over this time, with notable upticks in some of the fields that are declining nationally: business and financial operations (17%), computer and math occupations (14%), and architecture and engineering (13%). And while food prep occupations have added the most millennial jobs (4,800), life, physical, and social science occupations have expanded at the fastest rate (21%).
4. New Orleans’ Post-Katrina Rebound
The share of millennials increased 1.4 percentage points in New Orleans from 2007 to 2013, a jump no doubt aided by a 32% increase in the metro area’s 25-to-34-year-old population over those same years. The rush of young people came after New Orleans lost a quarter of its population, almost 350,000 people, from 2005 to 2006 after Hurricane Katrina.
What kind of jobs did millennials find in New Orleans from 2007 to 2013? Again food prep and serving occupations were the driving force, accounting for more than 6,000 of the 13,600 new jobs for young people—almost half of jobs added. Other sectors that did well include health care, community and social service, and arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media occupations (a broad sector that grew 26% among millennials).
For more on EMSI’s employment data — available at the county, MSA, and ZIP code level — or to see data for your region, email Josh Wright. Follow EMSI on Twitter (@DesktopEcon) or check us out on LinkedIn and Facebook.