As economic growth has picked up across the country, several regions have experienced particularly sharp job gains in recent months. Some are places that have lured major employers, or are home to several fast-growing industries. Others are regions that suffered severe job losses during the recession and are now recovering.

Governing compiled the latest federal jobs data for all metro areas with workforces of at least 100,000. For each region, monthly employment averages over the first four months of 2017 were compared with those for the same period last year. In all, 33 of the 236 metro areas recorded year-over-year increases exceeding 3 percent.

Here are some of the places that experienced top job growth rates over the past year:

Boise, Idaho

 

The Boise, Idaho, region has seen its employment base expand 4 percent over only the past 12 months, the largest increase of any metro area reviewed.

The region’s economy is fairly diversified, with no single industry accounting for a large portion of employment. Education and health services jobs are up 5.4 percent for the year, while construction employment similarly remains strong. Public-sector employment, a particularly important component of the economy given the presence of the state capitol, is also up 4.1 percent over the year.

Several startups and expanding tech firms have been opening their doors in downtown Boise recently. In nearby Caldwell, a food-processing equipment company last spring began construction on a new manufacturing facility. Other companies are relocating from elsewhere, including an engine parts manufacturer that relocated to the region from Simi Valley, Calif., last year.

Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, Fla.

 

Orlando’s economy has emerged as one of the nation’s fastest-growing among larger regions. Monthly average job totals are up by nearly 46,000 this year, an increase of 3.8 percent.

Tourism has led Florida out of the recession and continues to remain strong, says Christopher McCarty, director of the University of Florida's Bureau of Economic and Business Research. The sector’s growth has been especially key to Orlando’s growth given the area’s theme parks and other tourist destinations. Local leisure and hospitality jobs have climbed 5.4 percent over the year.

An influx of retirees migrating to the region has boosted other segments of the economy as well. The latest Labor Department estimates indicate the region’s construction employment is up 8.6 for the year as the housing market continues to recover. 

Other industries recording notable gains in recent months include financial activities and the trade, transportation and utilities sector.

Gainesville, Fla.

 

The Gainesville, Fla., region’s economy has seen employment increase by 3.8 percent over the year.

The University of Florida and the large medical center have driven much of the job gains. Government, education and health collectively account for about half the region’s total employment, so local leaders have looked to other sectors for growth. McCarty says there’s a focus on supporting a startup community near the university. “There’s somewhat of a realization that to really move forward a lot, the university really needs to have a community with enough employment to attract people to stay there,” he says.

Other regional industries, while still relatively small, have shown signs of growth in recent months. Professional and business services, along with the trade, transportation, and utilities industry, both expanded more than 6 percent over the year.

Nashville, Tenn.

 

Nashville’s economic boom doesn’t appear to have slowed. The region’s employment is up 3.8 percent over the first four months of the year, with all major industries registering increases.

Recent job gains are closely tied to the strong population growth that’s occurred for several years. Census data suggest much of the recent growth is most apparent in the suburban communities surrounding Nashville where new homes are being built. Accordingly, employment in the construction industry (which includes mining and logging), is up 12 percent over the year.

Another sector most responsible for the recent growth is education and health services, which has expanded by 4.6 percent over the year.

Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, Texas

 

Economic growth throughout many parts of Texas slowed in recent years, largely as a result of falling oil prices. But the Dallas region is still booming, continuing to add jobs at a rapid pace. Total employment over the first four months of the year soared 3.5 percent from the same period in 2016.

Laila Assanie, an economist with the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, says the region’s economy closely mirrors the national economy, which has acted as a tailwind in supporting local development. “The secret behind Dallas’ recent boom is a diversified industrial base, which provides opportunities for a variety of skill sets,” she says.

The big drivers in the Dallas area have been the business and financial services sectors. Multiple insurance companies have consolidated operations locally, for instance. Assanie says that the area’s central location, low cost of living and favorable business climate make it attractive for corporate relocations or expansions.

Much of the recent job creation has taken place around the suburban cities north of Dallas, which include Frisco, McKinney and Plano. Toyota just opened its massive new North American headquarters in Plano, expected to eventually employ 4,000 workers.

By comparison, the economy of Fort Worth and the western part of the metroplex is more tied to oil and gas. Although it’s still adding jobs, its annual growth rate was less than half that of neighboring Dallas last year, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.

Ocala, Fla.

 

A number of factors have propelled steady job gains in the north central Florida region of Marion County.

For one, the region has welcomed more retirees recently. That’s helped support the local health-care sector, as it has in other parts of the state.

Manufacturing has also started making a comeback as firms retool and expand, says Rusty Skinner, who heads CareerSource Citrus Levy Marion, a regional workforce development group. The local economy sustained severe losses during the recession, with construction and homebuilding-related manufacturing incurring especially sharp declines. Total employment, while still below pre-recession levels, has since accelerated. 

One major selling point the region enjoys is its central location along a major interstate, making it an ideal location for distribution centers. FedEx opened a new facility last year, followed by an announcement that auto parts retailer AutoZone would construct its own new facility nearby.

Relatively small Marion County can’t offer all the amenities of the state’s big cities. So officials have taken a targeted approach in seeking employers who are a good fit for the advantages it does have. “The challenge we face is really honing in on those [companies] that will maximize themselves with our assets,” Skinner says.

Reno, Nev. 

 

The focal point for job growth in the Reno region has been the Tahoe Reno Industrial Center, which occupies 107,000 acres in the northern Nevada desert and has become home to a growing number of employers in recent years. Tesla Motor Co., the region's biggest economic development prize, continues to hire more workers as its ramps up operations at a battery manufacturing plant there. Earlier this year, Google purchased more than 1,200 acres of land with plans to build a data center. Numerous other tech firms, including Amazon and Apple, also maintain a presence. 

Mark Pingle, a University of Nevada, Reno, economics professor, says that the region represents an attractive option for companies planning to expand or relocate from neighboring California with lower real estate costs, lower taxes and less regulation. “Company after company is locating there now,” Pingle says. “They have it so dialed in that it’s very easy for a company to buy some land, build their facility and be operating.”

Part of the region's growth, though, is simply making up for the steep job losses it suffered in the recession. Only in the past few months has total employment surpassed pre-recession levels.

Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, Nev.

 

The Las Vegas economy ground to a halt during the recession. But the region has regained its momentum and has experienced some of the nation's top job growth numbers in recent months. 

Part of that, of course, has to do with rebounding revenues in the gaming industry. As the national economy has improved, tourism spending is up, which means a boost for Vegas' casinos, hotels and related businesses. 

But other industries within the region are growing even faster. Employment in the construction industry, hit hard by the collapse of the housing bubble, has jumped an impressive 16 percent in just the past 12 months. Financial activities and professional and business services employment also both climbed 4.6 percent.

Part of the economic growth also stems from continued longer-term population gains as more people migrate to the region. “Las Vegas has reached the population density now where they can start self-sustaining industries to supply Las Vegas,” Pingle says.

Ogden-Clearfield, Utah

 

The Ogden, Utah, metro area is another region that’s experienced strong job growth for a number of years. Steady job increases have persisted since 2010, with the latest monthly averages up 3.3 percent over last year.

The region maintains a diverse economy, and the latest job estimates suggest nearly every major industry has expanded over the past 12 months. Businesses recently moving into the area include Northrop Grumman and e-commerce website Wayfair.

One of Ogden’s hottest sectors is aerospace and advanced materials, a cluster that's currently supported by 17 area employers.

This story has been updated to include additional metro areas not originally listed.

Metro Area Jobs Data

 

This table shows changes in total employment for regions with at least 100,000 employed workers over the past year.

Metro Area Change January-April 2016 Average January-April 2017 Average
Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX 3.5% 3,473,175 3,594,550
Ocala, FL 3.4% 99,500 102,900
Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, NV 3.4% 937,875 969,625
Reno, NV 3.4% 217,450 224,800
Olympia-Tumwater, WA 3.3% 111,200 114,925
Elkhart-Goshen, IN 3.3% 130,400 134,750
Ogden-Clearfield, UT 3.3% 244,175 252,300
Jacksonville, FL 3.3% 659,900 681,575
Seattle-Bellevue-Everett, WA 3.1% 1,627,925 1,678,975
Fort Collins, CO 3.1% 159,475 164,475
El Paso, TX 3.1% 306,550 316,150
Austin-Round Rock, TX 3.1% 988,650 1,019,600
Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA 3.1% 1,386,975 1,430,350
Modesto, CA 3.1% 169,875 175,175
Salt Lake City, UT 3.1% 693,450 714,975
Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach, FL 3.1% 194,275 200,300
Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA 3.1% 1,930,550 1,990,300
Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia, NC-SC 3.1% 1,135,950 1,170,850
Wilmington, NC 3.0% 122,525 126,250
Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL 3.0% 1,282,700 1,321,500
Camden, NJ 3.0% 526,425 542,175
Tallahassee, FL 2.9% 175,050 180,200
Spartanburg, SC 2.9% 145,325 149,600
Tacoma-Lakewood, WA 2.9% 302,350 311,225
Grand Rapids-Wyoming, MI 2.9% 539,875 555,550
Savannah, GA 2.9% 174,550 179,600
Port St. Lucie, FL 2.9% 141,375 145,450
Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach-Deerfield Beach, FL 2.9% 814,225 837,650
Pensacola-Ferry Pass-Brent, FL 2.9% 170,825 175,725
Charleston-North Charleston, SC 2.9% 342,825 352,650
Iowa City, IA 2.8% 99,675 102,500
Philadelphia City, PA 2.8% 691,325 710,850
Myrtle Beach-Conway-North Myrtle Beach, SC-NC 2.8% 159,950 164,450
Raleigh, NC 2.8% 595,150 611,600
Charlottesville, VA 2.7% 113,300 116,350
San Francisco-Redwood City-South San Francisco, CA 2.7% 1,081,875 1,110,975
Boulder, CO 2.7% 184,500 189,450
Chattanooga, TN-GA 2.6% 249,825 256,425
Fort Worth-Arlington, TX 2.6% 1,002,575 1,029,000
Fresno, CA 2.6% 331,825 340,525
Killeen-Temple, TX 2.6% 142,675 146,375
Kansas City, MO-KS 2.6% 1,060,350 1,087,650
Lansing-East Lansing, MI 2.6% 229,175 235,075
West Palm Beach-Boca Raton-Delray Beach, FL 2.6% 601,925 617,375
Lafayette-West Lafayette, IN 2.6% 102,450 105,075
Greeley, CO 2.6% 98,850 101,375
Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ 2.5% 1,953,850 2,003,475
Tyler, TX 2.5% 103,525 106,150
Kennewick-Richland, WA 2.5% 109,125 111,875
San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA 2.5% 2,320,175 2,378,625
Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, CA 2.5% 298,725 306,200
Huntsville, AL 2.5% 225,050 230,575
Kalamazoo-Portage, MI 2.4% 145,075 148,600
Lexington-Fayette, KY 2.4% 274,250 280,900
Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, FL 2.4% 2,564,850 2,626,625
Santa Cruz-Watsonville, CA 2.4% 99,975 102,375
Oakland-Hayward-Berkeley, CA 2.4% 1,124,425 1,150,975
Laredo, TX 2.3% 101,450 103,825
Topeka, KS 2.3% 111,450 114,050
Augusta-Richmond County, GA-SC 2.3% 232,075 237,475
San Antonio-New Braunfels, TX 2.3% 1,008,925 1,032,400
Salem, OR 2.3% 159,450 163,150
Columbus, OH 2.3% 1,055,675 1,080,100
Colorado Springs, CO 2.3% 277,200 283,525
Stockton-Lodi, CA 2.3% 223,500 228,575
Crestview-Fort Walton Beach-Destin, FL 2.3% 109,875 112,350
Visalia-Porterville, CA 2.2% 123,125 125,875
Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA NECTA Division 2.2% 1,805,875 1,845,900
Des Moines-West Des Moines, IA 2.2% 355,575 363,400
Durham-Chapel Hill, NC 2.2% 300,700 307,300
Warren-Troy-Farmington Hills, MI 2.2% 1,219,350 1,245,975
Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO 2.2% 1,423,450 1,454,225
Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, MI 2.2% 1,960,425 2,002,600
Miami-Miami Beach-Kendall, FL 2.1% 1,147,750 1,172,425
Gary, IN 2.1% 275,275 281,125
Detroit-Dearborn-Livonia, MI 2.1% 741,475 757,000
Trenton, NJ 2.1% 263,525 269,025
Springfield, MO 2.1% 208,600 212,950
Indianapolis-Carmel-Anderson, IN 2.1% 1,037,475 1,058,875
Portland-South Portland, ME NECTA 2.0% 201,000 205,075
Louisville/Jefferson County, KY-IN 2.0% 655,725 669,000
Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA 2.0% 1,135,600 1,158,500
McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, TX 2.0% 250,875 255,925
San Luis Obispo-Paso Robles-Arroyo Grande, CA 2.0% 113,275 115,550
Northern Virginia, VA 2.0% 1,430,875 1,459,425
Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD 2.0% 2,850,600 2,907,300
Cincinnati, OH-KY-IN 2.0% 1,075,700 1,096,900
Asheville, NC 1.9% 186,325 189,925
Lowell-Billerica-Chelmsford, MA-NH NECTA Division 1.9% 152,700 155,625
Santa Maria-Santa Barbara, CA 1.9% 179,850 183,275
Spokane-Spokane Valley, WA 1.9% 238,300 242,800
Waco, TX 1.9% 117,850 120,075
Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton, NC 1.9% 149,425 152,225
Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI 1.9% 1,947,425 1,983,650
Bergen-Hudson-Passaic, NJ 1.8% 910,925 927,650
San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA 1.8% 1,060,600 1,080,025
San Diego-Carlsbad, CA 1.8% 1,412,450 1,438,275
Madison, WI 1.8% 395,750 402,950
Boston-Cambridge-Nashua, MA-NH NECTA 1.8% 2,690,825 2,739,725
Sioux Falls, SD 1.8% 151,750 154,500
Silver Spring-Frederick-Rockville, MD 1.8% 592,125 602,850
Salinas, CA 1.8% 135,775 138,200
Appleton, WI 1.8% 124,800 127,025
Sacramento--Roseville--Arden-Arcade, CA 1.8% 940,225 956,825
Lubbock, TX 1.8% 144,475 147,025
Eugene, OR 1.8% 155,525 158,250
Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV 1.7% 2,623,450 2,668,125
Ann Arbor, MI 1.7% 215,925 219,600
Nashua, NH-MA NECTA Division 1.7% 127,225 129,375
Vallejo-Fairfield, CA 1.7% 134,900 137,175
Brownsville-Harlingen, TX 1.7% 140,500 142,850
Fort Wayne, IN 1.7% 218,050 221,675
Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV 1.7% 3,215,525 3,268,900
Lancaster, PA 1.7% 248,575 252,700
Nassau County-Suffolk County, NY 1.6% 1,321,925 1,343,525
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale, CA 1.6% 4,364,850 4,435,675
Amarillo, TX 1.6% 120,075 121,975
Naples-Immokalee-Marco Island, FL 1.5% 140,875 143,025
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA 1.5% 5,936,275 6,026,850
Fargo, ND-MN 1.5% 139,700 141,775
New York-Jersey City-White Plains, NY-NJ 1.5% 6,823,575 6,924,925
Cape Coral-Fort Myers, FL 1.5% 254,425 258,175
New York City, NY 1.5% 4,322,750 4,386,400
Toledo, OH 1.4% 310,150 314,425
New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA 1.4% 9,483,900 9,612,925
Harrisburg-Carlisle, PA 1.3% 336,950 341,450
Barnstable Town, MA NECTA 1.3% 105,350 106,750
Springfield, MA-CT NECTA 1.3% 331,925 336,300
Evansville, IN-KY 1.3% 158,025 160,075
Reading, PA 1.3% 176,625 178,850
St. Cloud, MN 1.3% 107,725 109,075
St. Louis, MO-IL 1.2% 1,359,375 1,376,175
Manchester, NH NECTA 1.2% 110,375 111,725
Albany-Schenectady-Troy, NY 1.2% 461,800 467,350
Memphis, TN-MS-AR 1.2% 636,650 644,150
Greensboro-High Point, NC 1.2% 356,775 360,950
Roanoke, VA 1.2% 161,775 163,650
Anaheim-Santa Ana-Irvine, CA 1.2% 1,572,675 1,590,875
South Bend-Mishawaka, IN-MI 1.2% 140,650 142,275
Orange-Rockland-Westchester, NY 1.1% 706,500 714,575
Lincoln, NE 1.1% 187,700 189,800
Santa Rosa, CA 1.1% 200,400 202,550
Worcester, MA-CT NECTA 1.1% 281,575 284,575
Columbia, SC 1.0% 391,675 395,775
Omaha-Council Bluffs, NE-IA 1.0% 495,375 500,475
Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, MD 1.0% 1,392,300 1,406,450
Urban Honolulu, HI 1.0% 473,425 478,200
Tuscaloosa, AL 1.0% 104,725 105,775
Montgomery, AL 1.0% 172,350 174,075
Norwich-New London-Westerly, CT-RI NECTA 1.0% 128,425 129,700
Knoxville, TN 1.0% 390,775 394,650
Duluth, MN-WI 1.0% 135,525 136,825
Pittsburgh, PA 0.9% 1,163,425 1,174,275
Buffalo-Cheektowaga-Niagara Falls, NY 0.9% 560,050 565,175
Hagerstown-Martinsburg, MD-WV 0.9% 106,600 107,575
Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX 0.9% 3,001,225 3,028,525
Baltimore City, MD 0.9% 366,625 369,950
Macon-Bibb County, GA 0.9% 102,100 103,025
Springfield, IL 0.9% 115,225 116,225
Syracuse, NY 0.8% 315,900 318,550
Greenville-Anderson-Mauldin, SC 0.8% 407,800 411,125
Dayton, OH 0.8% 384,200 387,325
Little Rock-North Little Rock-Conway, AR 0.8% 353,700 356,575
Winston-Salem, NC 0.8% 260,250 262,325
Kansas City, KS 0.8% 467,225 470,750
York-Hanover, PA 0.7% 183,350 184,725
Albuquerque, NM 0.7% 386,775 389,675
Framingham, MA NECTA Division 0.7% 174,025 175,300
Birmingham-Hoover, AL 0.7% 519,325 523,025
Baton Rouge, LA 0.7% 406,150 409,000
Chicago-Naperville-Arlington Heights, IL 0.7% 3,702,200 3,727,925
Richmond, VA 0.7% 662,950 667,425
Rochester, MN 0.7% 118,825 119,625
Cleveland-Elyria, OH 0.6% 1,054,450 1,061,300
Jackson, MS 0.6% 278,375 280,175
Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI 0.6% 4,643,625 4,672,900
Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford, CT NECTA 0.6% 569,325 572,625
Huntington-Ashland, WV-KY-OH 0.5% 137,975 138,675
Utica-Rome, NY 0.5% 126,525 127,150
Wilmington, DE-MD-NJ 0.5% 357,825 359,550
Corpus Christi, TX 0.4% 191,125 191,950
Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA-NC 0.4% 771,175 774,350
Bakersfield, CA 0.4% 256,850 257,900
Lynchburg, VA 0.4% 104,050 104,475
Tucson, AZ 0.4% 371,550 373,050
Cedar Rapids, IA 0.4% 144,000 144,525
Providence-Warwick, RI-MA NECTA 0.4% 583,125 585,175
Kingsport-Bristol-Bristol, TN-VA 0.3% 121,400 121,775
Columbus, GA-AL 0.3% 120,750 121,075
Binghamton, NY 0.2% 103,800 104,050
Newark, NJ-PA 0.2% 1,192,850 1,194,750
Flint, MI 0.1% 139,450 139,650
Atlantic City-Hammonton, NJ 0.1% 129,875 130,000
New Orleans-Metairie, LA 0.1% 575,725 576,025
Akron, OH 0.0% 339,675 339,675
Champaign-Urbana, IL 0.0% 108,950 108,950
Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, WI 0.0% 863,650 863,375
Oklahoma City, OK 0.0% 630,125 629,875
Davenport-Moline-Rock Island, IA-IL -0.1% 183,525 183,425
Scranton--Wilkes-Barre--Hazleton, PA -0.1% 260,300 260,150
Fort Smith, AR-OK -0.1% 113,750 113,625
Wichita, KS -0.2% 297,525 297,075
Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton, PA-NJ -0.2% 363,850 363,275
Burlington-South Burlington, VT NECTA -0.2% 125,025 124,800
New Haven, CT NECTA -0.2% 281,425 280,800
Mobile, AL -0.2% 179,100 178,675
Green Bay, WI -0.3% 175,075 174,600
Rochester, NY -0.4% 533,925 531,950
Lake County-Kenosha County, IL-WI -0.4% 412,150 410,525
Canton-Massillon, OH -0.4% 173,000 172,300
Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT NECTA -0.4% 410,850 409,050
Fayetteville, NC -0.5% 129,975 129,350
Charleston, WV -0.7% 119,725 118,900
Erie, PA -0.7% 129,200 128,275
Tulsa, OK -0.8% 445,925 442,550
Youngstown-Warren-Boardman, OH-PA -0.9% 225,425 223,500
Beaumont-Port Arthur, TX -0.9% 164,975 163,525
Gulfport-Biloxi-Pascagoula, MS -0.9% 155,650 154,275
Shreveport-Bossier City, LA -1.4% 182,600 180,100
Anchorage, AK -1.8% 180,050 176,850
Peoria, IL -1.8% 177,000 173,850
Rockford, IL -2.6% 152,250 148,275
Lafayette, LA -3.2% 205,800 199,125
Boise City, ID 4.0% 301,475 313,625
Provo-Orem, UT 4.0% 234,625 244,025
Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville, FL 4.0% 205,450 213,625
Kansas City, MO 3.9% 593,025 616,350
North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton, FL 3.9% 290,575 301,950
Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, FL 3.8% 1,191,650 1,237,500
Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, GA 3.8% 2,637,375 2,738,475
Gainesville, FL 3.8% 138,050 143,325
Nashville-Davidson-Murfreesboro-Franklin, TN 3.8% 939,500 975,275
Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers, AR-MO 3.7% 243,050 251,975
Calvert-Charles-Prince George's, MD 3.5% 394,825 408,725
Lakeland-Winter Haven, FL 3.5% 211,550 218,950

SOURCE: Governing calculations of BLS seasonally adjusted job estimates