Forbes: Knoxville jobs market one of most improved

Knoxville’s job market is one of the most improved in the country, according to a Forbes
Sunset.PE.jpgranking of metropolitan markets published this week.

Knoxville surged 34 spots to rank No. 9 among medium-size cities on Forbes’ 2011 “Best Cities for Jobs” list.

Using federal employment data, researchers based the rankings “on recent growth trends, mid-term growth and long-term growth and momentum.”

Knoxville’s lofty Forbes ranking reflects the regional economy “is both stable and diverse with large employers like UT and TVA and the national lab in Oak Ridge … which helped us avoid the deep dips that hit other areas during the recession,” said Garrett Wagley, vice president of policy and public relations for the Knoxville Chamber.

Medium-size markets are defined in the Forbes rankings as those with 150,000 to 450,000 jobs.

Most markets saw relatively modest percentage increases in job growth, but at least they are growing. Metropolitan Knoxville’s total nonfarm employment is about 325,000, up about 1.6 percent from January 2010 to January 2011, according to Forbes.

Texas dominates the medium cities list with three of the top four spots. However, no medium-size city in the Top Ten came close to improving as much as Knoxville. Provo-Orem, Utah, had the next biggest movement, rising 20 spots to No. 10.

There are lists for everything these days and they should be taken with a grain of salt. But other recent reports have indicated improvement in the Knoxville jobs market.

In its second quarter employment outlook survey, global staffing firm Manpower Inc. reported that 18 percent of Knoxville area employers planned to add jobs during the April to June period, up from 15 percent who planned to add jobs in the first quarter.

While rankings like the Forbes “Best Cities” list they don’t tell the whole story of a local economy, it’s a lot better being at the top than the bottom.

Here’s the complete Forbes report: The Best Cities For Jobs

Here’s a more detailed explanation of how cities were ranked.

Forbes Photo Gallery: The Best Mid-size Cities For Jobs

Photo: The Knoxville skyline is pictured in silhouette Friday, Feb. 12, 2010 from the South Knoxville bridge. (Knoxville News Sentinel/ Paul Efird)