Providence plummets on latest ‘Best Cities for Job Growth’ listMay 14th, 2012 at 10:33 am by Ted Nesi under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site
The Providence metropolitan area fell a jaw-dropping 124 spots on Forbes magazine’s annual list of the Best Cities for Job Growth, plunging from No. 256 in 2011 to No. 380, only 18 spots away from dead last.
Providence scored a 17.7 on Forbes’ weighed index of employment growth, which measures recent and longer-term trends. Odessa, Texas, was No. 1 with a 99.4 score, while Dalton, Ga., was last with a 0.5.
Providence fared even worse among other large-sized cities, coming in second to last out of 65 metropolitan areas; only Birmingham, Ala., fared worse. The Providence area’s unemployment rate was 10.8% in March, down from 11.1% a year earlier but up from 5.1% in March 2007, according to the U.S. Labor Department.
If there was any silver lining for Providence, it was in the accompanying article by Joel Kotkin, which suggested: “When it comes to growth, economic and demographic, opportunity increasingly is to be found in smaller, and often remote, places.” That wouldn’t include the Providence metropolitan area, but it could fit the capital city itself.
“Why are the stronger smaller cities growing faster than most larger ones?” Kotkin writes. “The keys may lie in many mundane factors that are often too prosaic for urban theorists. They include things such as strong community institutions like churches and shorter commutes …. Young families might be attracted to better schools … and the access to natural amenities common in many of these smaller communities.”