Provo-Orem, Houston, and Raleigh make up a powerhouse trio at the top of the quarterly labor market ranking from EMSI. Yet none of these labor market standouts cracks the top of the list of metros that have created the highest share of living-wage jobs since 2010—one of 11 indicators the index considers.
That distinction instead belongs to Beaumont-Port Arthur, Texas (66% of new jobs above living wage), and a number of manufacturing-focused metro regions led by Detroit (64%) and Peoria, Illinois (63%).
Beaumont-Port Arthur’s economy is driven by oil and gas pipeline construction and petroleum refineries (while also having a noteworthy manufacturing presence). But in five of the other top 10 metros for quality job creation from 2010 to 2014, manufacturing is a central industry. This includes Reading, Pennsylvania, Rockford, Illinois, and even San Jose, where 16% of all jobs are in manufacturing (primarily the production of semiconductors and computer equipment).
Let’s look in detail at Detroit and Peoria, two manufacturing hubs that focus on producing two different things.
The Motor City has three times the concentration of team assemblers compared to the nation (44,000 in all) and nearly seven times the concentration of mechanical engineers (23,000). These two occupations, along with wholesale and manufacturing sales representatives, have added the most jobs since 2010 among occupations that are growing and pay above the living wage for two adults and one child at the median level ($17.08).
In fact, almost all of the 15 strongest-growing occupations that pay the living wage and above in Detroit are related to manufacturing. And most of them are recovering nicely after a wicked downturn during the recession.
Detroit, which ranks 68th in the index, had 2,000 more mechanical engineers in 2014 than in 2007.
|SOC||Description||2014 Jobs||2010 - 2014 Change||2010 - 2014 % Change||Median Hourly Earnings||2014 Location Quotient|
|41-4012||Sales Representatives, Wholesale and Manufacturing, Except Technical and Scientific Products||26,134||3,712||17%||$27.80||1.40|
|53-3032||Heavy and Tractor-Trailer Truck Drivers||21,367||3,626||20%||$18.76||1.01|
|11-1021||General and Operations Managers||27,618||3,236||13%||$47.78||1.04|
|51-9061||Inspectors, Testers, Sorters, Samplers, and Weighers||12,090||2,529||26%||$17.48||1.94|
|51-1011||First-Line Supervisors of Production and Operating Workers||10,476||1,739||20%||$29.92||1.37|
|51-4111||Tool and Die Makers||6,286||1,625||35%||$26.92||5.99|
|15-1121||Computer Systems Analysts||9,979||1,567||19%||$38.32||1.47|
|43-3031||Bookkeeping, Accounting, and Auditing Clerks||18,861||1,508||9%||$17.91||0.84|
|Source: EMSI 2015.1 Class of Worker (Employees)|
The home of Caterpillar Inc., the Peoria metro contains more than 11,000 construction machinery manufacturing jobs and 3,400 research and development jobs in the physical, engineering, and life sciences realm.
These are high-paying industries that help make Peoria the third-best for new jobs above the living wage among the 150 largest metros in our index.
What are some of the occupations that contribute to this lofty position?
Like Detroit, mechanical engineers and wholesale and manufacturing sales representatives are strong performers that pay above Peoria’s live wage of $16.60—well above in both cases. Industrial engineers and machinists also have grown in Peoria’s post-recession economy.
But the central Illinois metro has a more diverse group of expanding, well-paying occupations than Detroit. Registered nurses top the list in terms of raw growth (271 new jobs since 2010), while computer systems analysts and insurance sales agents are in the top five.
In all, 28 of the largest 150 metros have seen at least 50% of new jobs come above the living wage, and 20 have seen 25% or less of new jobs above the living wage, with Brownsville-Harlingen, Texas, at the bottom.
Overall Q2 Index Results
We mentioned Provo-Orem, Houston, and Raleigh taking up the top three spots in the latest version of the Labor Market 150 Index, just like they did in the inaugural version in February. After these three metros, there was quite a bit of movement. San Jose rose from 15th to fourth, McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, Texas, went from 13th to sixth, and Seattle jumped from 16th to eighth. Another big riser is Beaumont-Port Arthur, which went from 32nd to 16th.
The top 10:
- Provo-Orem, Utah
- Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land
- Raleigh, North Carolina
- San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara
- Salt Lake City
- McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, Texas
- Austin-Round Rock
- Charleston-North Charleston, South Carolina
Seattle and San Jose were the only two highly ranked metros to appear in the top 10 for job creation above the living wage. Seattle ranks third in the quality employment rank, which factors in the living-wage analysis we’ve discussed as well as the performance of driver industries (i.e., those with 1,000 or more jobs in 2014, average industry earnings of at least $50,000, and an employment concentration or location quotient at least 20 percent above the national average.).
Meanwhile, San Jose’s overall employment grew 16% from 2010 to 2014 and is projected to grow 10% from 2014 to 2020. Job posting growth has also been robust in San Jose over the last 12 months (39%, the eighth-best rate).
Purpose and Components of Index
The Labor Market 150 Index mostly looks at growth metrics; it doesn’t rank metros by sheer size or presence of jobs. Rather, the aim of the index is to rank metros on their labor market health and growth (both historic and projected). Thus, the index has implications for people looking for jobs, businesses looking to expand, and economic developers seeking to help businesses grow in their region or bring new businesses to their region.
Data used to compile the Labor Market 150 Index is primarily based on EMSI’s extensive labor market dataset. EMSI gathers and integrates economic, labor market, demographic, and education data from more than 90 government and private-sector sources, creating a comprehensive and current database that includes both published data and detailed estimates. This iteration of the index uses EMSI’s 2015.1 Class of Worker dataset and does not include self-employed workers. Labor Market 150 Index variables are weighted separately and arranged into four groups.
- Using EMSI’s proprietary data set, Employment Rank includes total-industry job growth rates pre-and-post-recession, as well as projected growth rates from 2014 to 2020.
- Quality Employment Rank includes job growth rates among each metro’s key driver industries over the same time frames, as well as the share of new jobs in growing occupations created since 2010 with median hourly earnings at or above the metro’s living wage for two adults and one child, as determined by the MIT Living Wage Calculator.
- Job Postings Growth captures the change in the number of unique online listings from March 2014 to February 2015, and along with each metro’s Unemployment Rate, provides the index’s best look at current market situations.
Data for the Labor Market 150 Index comes from EMSI Analyst. For more on the index and EMSI’s employment data, contact us. Follow EMSI on Twitter (@DesktopEcon) or check us out on LinkedIn and Facebook.