The Florida economy was hammered during the financial crisis as tourism slowed, real estate prices plummeted and jobs disappeared, but the state has crawled back and continues to see heavy net migration into nearly every Sunshine State metro. People are chasing jobs with three Florida metros ranked among the 10 places expected to have the fastest job growth over the next three years and seven among the top 25. Naples leads the way with a projected average annual rate of 4.1%. Unemployment peaked in Naples in January 2010 at 12.2%, but was just 5.4% last month and is expected to stay low. Joining Naples among the top spots for job growth are fellow southern Florida locales Cape Coral and Port St. Lucie.
Texas dominates the rest of top 10 with five metro areas led by Austin at 4.1%, a shade behind Naples. Texas was one of the last states to fall into a recession and one of the first to emerge. A pro-business government is expected to help spur further job growth in the Lone Star State. The only places with robust job growth outside of Florida and Texas are Greeley, Colo. and Raleigh, N.C., which ranks first on our annual look at theBest Places for Business and Careers. Not all jobs are created equal. Median household incomes in McAllen, Tex. are $31,700, but nearly twice that level in Raleigh.
The graphic below looks at the metro areas, among the 200 largest by population, that are expected to have the fastest and slowest rates of employment growth through 2016, according to research firm Moody’s Analytics. Each of the 200 largest metros is expected to add jobs over the next three years, but the 10 below in red are projected to have the slowest growth with Albuquerque expected to fare the worst with just 0.2% annual growth. The 10 worst metros are scattered across the U.S. representing 10 different states.
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