Small Communities Offer Big Job Opportunities

small townFolks looking to relocate to hot job markets may think they have to aim for major metropolitan areas with their higher than average housing markets. But the latest survey I reviewed from the U.S. Census bureau may be surprising.

It was oil- and gas-rich areas in and near the Great Plains that boasted many of the fastest-growing communities in the U.S. last year, with areas along and near the Gulf Coast also featuring several high-growth communities. In fact, all of the 10 fastest-growing micro areas between 2012 and 2013 were west of the Mississippi River.

The Census Bureau survey shows that of the nation’s 10 fastest-growing metropolitan markets during the year ending July 1, 2013, six were within or near the Great Plains, including Austin-Round Rock, Odessa, and Midland, Texas; Fargo and Bismarck, North Dakota; and Casper, Wyoming.

The nation’s other fastest-growing metro areas between 2012 and 2013 were The Villages, Florida, whose population rose by 5.2 percent in that brief period. The Gulf Coast metro areas of Daphne-Fairhope-Foley, Ala., and Cape Coral-Fort Myers, Fla., also made the top 10 list.

U.S. metro areas with populations of 1 million or more in 2012 grew 1.0 percent, compared with 0.5 percent for those with populations of less than 250,000. While the bureau survey says the 1,335 counties not inside either a metro area or micro area had a collective population decline of 35,674 between 2012 and 2013, with more than six in 10 of these counties losing population.

The nation’s metro areas contained 269.9 million people in 2013, up about 2.3 million from 2012.

New York continued to be the most populous metro area, with 19.9 million residents on July 1, 2013, followed by Los Angeles and Chicago. While Houston had the largest numeric increase between 2012 and 2013, gaining about 138,000 people.

Conversely, the Census Bureau survey says its “Micropolitan Top 10” are Williston, N.D., (first in growth at 10.7 percent), followed by Dickinson, N.D.; Andrews, Texas; Minot, N.D.; and two areas in western Oklahoma (Weatherford and Woodward) along with Hobbs, New Mexico.

Source: John Voket –

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