The Best Place to Get a Job in 2015
If you hope to get a job in the next three months, where in the US will you find the most vibrant employment market? According to the just-released Employment Outlook Survey from Milwaukee-based staffing giant ManpowerGroup, the No. 1 spot is the Cape Coral “Metropolitan Statistical Area,” a city designation coined by the Office of Management and Budget. The Cape Coral MSA, on Florida’s west coast 160 miles from Miami, includes Fort Myers.
Manpower MAN +0.17% ranks the top 100 MSAs. Each quarter it surveys employers in those cities about whether they plan to add or cut jobs, keep employment levels the same, or haven’t yet decided. In the Cape Coral area, a net 32% plan to hire new staff in the first quarter of 2015. That’s a substantial bump up from 23% a year ago. Dana Burnett, economic development director for the city of Cape Coral, says the city continues to rebound from the subprime mortgage crisis and construction jobs abound. “We got hit hard and we’re still waking up from that,” he says. Hertz announced last year that it was moving its headquarters to Estero, FLA, inside the Cape Coral MSA, and it’s in hiring mode. There are also retail jobs at the new Sam’s Club opening in January and jobs at a mega-Walmart planned for 2015. A shoe manufacturer, Camuto Group in Bonita Springs, is also hiring people who want to get a job.
Cape Coral’s robust picture compares favorably with a nationwide seasonally adjusted net employment outlook of 16%. That may not be as strong as the top MSAs on the list but, says Manpower Senior Vice President Kip Wright, “This is one of the most positive outlooks in the last six or seven years. It’s the strongest it’s been since Q1 of 2008,” he says. “We’re starting to see that the recovery is sustained, the stock market is improving, oil and gas prices are stabilizing, consumers have more money in their pockets and they’re rebuilding their savings.” The other plus: while there are plenty of low-wage food service and retail jobs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (roughly one eight of the new job openings in September 2014 were in retail trade, according to the BLS), there are also many jobs in professional business services, manufacturing, health care and construction.
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To gauge companies’ hiring plans, Manpower surveyed more than 18,000 US employers, gathering data in the top 100 metro areas. It used a research firm that quizzed hiring managers and human resource professionals by phone and email over the first two weeks of October. The firm asked one multiple-choice question about companies’ plans for the first quarter of 2015: How do you anticipate total employment at your location to change in the next three months to the end of March 2014, as compared to the current quarter? Companies could choose four answers: Increase staff. Reduce staff. Keep staff levels the same. Unsure. Then Manpower crunched the numbers and came up with a “net employment outlook.” The survey is a rough measure, since it doesn’t’ count the number of jobs employers plan to add or subtract, but simply asks whether they plan to hire or fire.
After Cape Coral, the second-strongest hiring outlook is in McAllen, TX, near the southernmost tip of the state. A net 29% of employers plan to hire in Q1, the same number as a year ago. Kelli Stanton, Manpower’s regional director for south Texas says there are jobs opening up in construction, durable goods manufacturing, transportation, utilities and professional and business services. There is also a lot of retail construction and new restaurant chains like Texas Roadhouse. Because it’s on the border, McAllen benefits from Mexicans who go there to shop for goods they can’t get at home.
Deltona, FLA and Grand Rapids, MI are tied for third place. One of the spurs to Deltona’s growth is major construction at the Daytona speedway (Daytona is part of the Deltona MSA) that is adding a new level onto the structure, and across from the speedway workers have broken ground on One Daytona, a huge shopping center centered around a Bass Pro Shop sporting goods store. Grand Rapids is benefiting from a housing revival after the whole state was severely battered by the great recession. Some of the employers that are in hiring mode: Steelcase, Spectrum Health, Mercy Health and Amway . Cascade Engineering, an auto products manufacturing, is also taking on new employees.
The city with the worst job outlook: Spokane, WA, with only a 2% net employment outlook, though Manpower Business Development Manager Christina Gross says the Spokane economy isn’t doing as poorly as that number suggests. “It’s a reflection of winter,” she says. Retailers hire a lot of temporary work for the holidays and then scale back hiring in Q1.” But Spokane also has three health care facilities and an insurer, Premera Blue Cross, that are doing well, and four universities including Washington State, also generate employment. “We’re busier and the overall feel is that people are getting back to work,” she says.
See our slide show above for 13 cities where the hiring outlook is the best (there are several ties so we included more than 10) and 11 cities with the worst net employment outlook (there is a six-way tie for fourth place).
Article extracted from Forbes.com