4 Texas Cities Rank in Top 12 For Economic Growth. Portland, Oregon Fastest Growing U.S. City For GDP Per Bloomberg

To come up with a list of the top 12 growing U.S. cities, Bloomberg Rankings sorted through U.S. Census data for metropolitan areas with more than 1 million residents to rank those with the greatest population growth, as well as the best growth in gross domestic product, adjusted for inflation.

1. Austin-Round Rock, Texas

2007 Population: 1,598,161

2011 Population: 1,783,519

Percent Change: 11.60

GDP Compound Annual Growth: 3.26%

Austin will possibly generate about 25,000 new jobs in 2013, according to Austin-based Angelou Economics. A high-tech job boost will come from Apple Inc., which is expanding its Austin campus with a new, 1 million-square-foot operations center that will be second in size only to its Cupertino (California) headquarters.

2. New Orleans-Metairie-Kenner, Louisiana

2007 Population: 1,030,363

2011 Population: 1,191,089

Percent Change: 15.60

GDP Compound Annual Growth: 2%

The area is growing as it rebuilds from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Tourism is booming, and the New Orleans area gained more residents than any other in the U.S. from 2007 to 2011.  Job growth is primarily in heavy construction, but even the television and motion picture industry is increasing activity in the area, according to New Orleans demographer Allison Plyer. The unemployment rate, at 5.9%, is below the national average.


3. Raleigh-Cary, North Carolina

2007 Population: 1,047,629

2011 Population: 1,163,515

Percent Change: 11.06

GDP Compound Annual Growth: 1.49%


The famous Research Triangle Park attracts a growing number of high tech workers; now about 40,000 from all over the world.  Unemployment stands at 7.5%  as companies such as International Business Machines Corp. (IBM), Cisco Systems Inc. and Lockheed Martin Corp. employ not only local residents but also transplants from around the globe.


4. San Antonio, Texas

2007 Population: 1,990,675

2011 Population: 2,194,927

Percent Change: 10.26

GDP Compound Annual Growth: 1.47%


In San Antonio the key driver of growth is oil and gas drilling, particularly from the Eagle Ford Shale formation. A strong military presence, which includes Randolph Air Force Base, also supports the economy.  Unemployment is at 6.1% is a city no longer small, but now the seventh-largest city in the U.S.


5. Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, Texas

2007 Population: 5,628,101

2011 Population: 6,086,538

Percent Change: 8.15

GDP Compound Annual Growth: 1.55%

Mining companies such as BHP Billiton Ltd. and El Paso Mine Machinery Corp. are big employers, along with NASA’s Johnson Space Center. Unemployment is now 6.3%.


6. Washington, D.C. Metro Area

2007 Population: 5,306,565

2011 Population: 5,703,948

Percent Change: 7.49

GDP Compound Annual Growth: 1.46%


The Washington area, which includes neighboring towns in Virginia and Maryland, was buffered from the recession partly because of the federal government, which employs more than 140,000 people. Also in the region are the defense and civilian contracting sectors with big employers such as Raytheon Co., General Dynamics Corp. and Northrop Grumman Corp.  At the same time the tech industry is growing faster in the Washington, D.C. area than in any other metropolitan area. At 5.5%, unemployment is below the national average.


7. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

2007 Population: 1,192,989

2011 Population: 1,278,053

Percent Change: 7.13

GDP Compound Annual Growth: 1.44%


During the recession Oklahoma put more than $1 billion to work funding its own infrastructure projects over a five-year period. That included renovating every school, improving sidewalks and trails and building a new convention center and expo center. Such improvements have attracted more people to the city while maintaining an unemployment rate of 4.9%. Employers seeking more candidates include Devon Energy Corp., Continental Resources Inc. and Chesapeake Energy Corp.


8. Nashville-Davidson-Murfreesboro-Franklin, Tennessee

2007 Population: 1,521,437

2011 Population: 1,617,142

Percent Change: 6.29

GDP Compound Annual Growth: 1.37%


Nashville is known for its music industry — country, pop, gospel and rock — which has pumped billions of dollars into the local economy, but Nissan Motor Co.’s headquarters, are also in Nashville. The health-care industry with companies such as Vanguard, retail corporate headquarters for Dollar General, as well as publishers including Thomas Nelson Inc. are just a few of the major employers in the area. Unemployment is relatively low at 6.4%.


9. Portland-Beaverton Oregon, Vancouver Washington

2007 Population: 2,175,113

2011 Population: 2,262,605

Percent Change: 4.02

GDP Compound Annual Growth: 5.23%


Portland has the fastest economic growth in the country. Though unemployment is at 8.3%, partially due to many people moving to Portland for its lower cost of living per a Brookings Institution study at a time companies were decreasing their hiring initiatives. Meanwhile, a study by Portland State University noted that many college-educated students were drawn to Portland by the low cost of living.


10. Charlotte-Gastonia-Concord, North Carolina

2007 Population: 1,651,568

2011 Population: 1,795,472

Percent Change: 8.71

GDP Compound Annual Growth: 0.14%


Charlotte Douglas International Airport, the largest hub to US Airways, has become the sixth-busiest airport in the nation, according to the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce in large part due to the presence of the banking industry in the market. The area is also getting a boost from international companies increasingly doing business in the Charlotte area. Among them is Siemens AG, which is building turbines in the area.


11. Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, Texas

2007 Population: 6,145,037

2011 Population: 6,526,548

Percent Change: 6.21

GDP Compound Annual Growth: 0.84%


From finance to technology companies as well as oil and gas and logistics, the Dallas area has a diverse employer base. The unemployment rate, at 6.3%, is less than the national average as well as the relatively low cost of living.



12. San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, California

2007 Population: 1,803,643

2011 Population: 1,865,450

Percent Change: 3.43

GDP Compound Annual Growth: 4.37%


Unemployment, at 7.6 %, is close to the national average. During the housing crisis the entire state was hit hard, as home prices fell 34%. During the recovery, the San Jose/Sunnyvale area has come back strong. The key to its progress are the tech products made in Silicon Valley.

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