Boston tops Northeast for job creation, Gallup says

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BOSTON – Greater Boston ranks higher than any other major urban area in the Northeast for job creation, although it is less competitive nationwide, according to a recent Gallup survey.

The region beat out cities from New York to Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Buffalo, New York, although it ranks 21st out of the 50 largest metropolitan statistical areas studied last year, the polling organization said Tuesday. Hartford ranks last, with Providence next-to-last.

The Boston metro area extends south to the Cape Cod Canal and north to Portsmouth and Rochester, New Hampshire, while it’s western edge roughly parallels Interstate 495. Boston’s score of +35 was based on the proportion of employers who said their companies were hiring, 44 percent, and the 9 percent that reported reducing their headcount.

While Orlando, Florida, topped the list – due to significant numbers of hospitality and leisure jobs – followed by Salt Lake City and Austin, Texas, where technology job creation is relatively strong, others that topped Boston include Louisville, Kentucky, San Francisco and Atlanta. Seattle, Phoenix, Denver, Dallas and Columbus and Cincinnati, Ohio, also beat the Hub.

Providence and Hartford suffered as both metro areas have lost higher-paying manufacturing jobs. But both cities reflect improvements, Gallup said, as the difference in employers hiring and firing has risen to +22 in Providence last year from +5 in 2011, while Hartford has seen a small gain, at +21 most recently from +15 in 2011.

Gallup’s job creation index ranked the percentage of workers interviewed in 2015 who say their employer is hiring minus the percentage who say their employer is letting workers go. Nationwide, the study marked an overall job creation index of +30, as 42 percent of respondents reported an increase in jobs where they worked while 12 percent reported a decrease.

This year, the national unemployment rate fell to 4.9 percent in January and remained there in February. That’s the lowest rate in eight years, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. In Massachusetts, the state unemployment rate fell to 4.7 percent in January from 4.9 percent in December, the state reported Thursday.

Contact Kara Bettis at [email protected] or on Twitter @karabettis.