With the U.S. economy still struggling to mend, unemployed jobseekers would be wise to try their luck in Salt Lake City. The Provo-Orem metro area would be a smart choice, too.
Utah’s capital has generated more than 62,000 jobs since 2010, according to CareerBuilder, which operates the online job site careerbuilder.com.
But while other cities have added more jobs in the same period — Houston, for example, has created 281,000 — Salt Lake City has produced more job growth per capita than any of the other cities in the 100 largest metros that CareerBuilder’s Economic Modeling Specialists Intl. business unit surveyed — 534 new jobs per 10,000 people.
Put another way, for every 100 people shopping at City Creek, slightly more than five might work at a job created in the last three years. Strong as the growth may be, though, it is slower than in the three years running up to the Great Recession. Back in the 2004-2007 time period, job growth per capita was 699 per 10,000 people.
Even so, the survey confirms what numerous other studies have shown lately: Led by Salt Lake City, Utah’s economy is doing far better than the rest of the country.
“What this study tells us is Salt Lake City has cultivated a broad case of key industries,” CareerBuilder spokeswoman Jennifer Grasz said Wednesday.
“The diverse economy not only hosts companies in fast-growing industries, it also is seeing growth in manufacturing, trucking and financial services, among others,” Grasz said.
The survey also undercuts a widespread impression that most of the new jobs don’t pay much. The average wage or salary is $54,603 this year, according to CareerBuilder, reportedly the biggest online employment website in the U.S.
Carrie Mayne, chief economist at the Utah Department of Workforce Services, said it isn’t surprising that Salt Lake City added a lot of jobs between 2007 and 2010. What is a surprise is that the per-capita rate is so high, given that Utah is a state with lots of large families, and many have spouses who choose to stay home and children who aren’t old enough to work, she said.
“When things are evaluated on a per capita basis, often Utah looks really bad. You are [comparing] the number [of new jobs] to the population. We have a decent-sized population but a large portion of that is people who would not be in the workforce,” Mayne said.
Industries that added the most jobs in the Salt Lake metro area were electronic shopping and mail order houses, up 43 percent, software publishing (28 percent), specialized freight trucking (23 percent), and non-bank lenders and other “credit intermediation” businesses (22 percent). Jobs in the “other investment pools and funds” category rose 59 percent.
The Provo-Orem metro area in Utah County was ranked No. 7 on the CareerBuilder list. More than 24,000 jobs were added in the area since 2010 for a per capita count of 427 new jobs per 10,000 people. (640 new jobs per 10,000 were added between 2004 and 2007.)
The average earnings per job this year is $42,776.
“The mid-sized Utah metro is well concentrated in a number of fast-growing tech industries: software publishing, up 51 percent; computer systems design, up 30 percent; and semiconductor manufacturing, up 14 percent,” CareerBuilder said.
The Ogden-Clearfield metro area didn’t make the top 10 list, but it was included in the survey. Employers created 42,435 jobs between 2010 and 2013. The average earnings per job this year is $47,031.
CareerBuilder didn’t provide a per capita job growth figure.
Top 10 cities for per capita job growth (2010-2013)
• Salt Lake City: 62,000 jobs; 534 new jobs per 10,000 people
• Grand Rapids, Mich.: 39,000 jobs, 513 new jobs per 10,000 people
• San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, Calif.: 91,000 jobs; 498 new jobs per 10,000 people
• Austin, Texas: 90,000 jobs; 488 new jobs per 10,000 people
• Houston: 281,000 jobs; 451 new jobs per 10,000 people
• Nashville, Tenn.: 71,000 new jobs; 432 new jobs per 10,000 people
• Provo-Orem: 24,000 new jobs; 427 new jobs per 10,000 people
• Dallas-Fort Worth: 267,000 new jobs; 400 new jobs per 10,000 people
• Bakersfield, Calif.: 33,000 new jobs; 394 new jobs per 10,000 people
• Charlotte, N.C.: 70,000 new jobs; 381 new jobs per 10,000 people