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U.S job growth concentrated in largest urban centers

New York City and L.A. lead the country in job-creation, though much of the new work pays a low wage

Over the last five years, the United States has seen an addition of 12.2 million new jobs, roughly a 9 percent employment increase between 2011 and 2016. That brings the country’s total number of jobs up to more than 140 million, with high-paying gigs making up 37 percent of the employment market.

That all sounds pretty great. But a new analysis of data from economic firm Emsi, mapped by the Martin Prosperity Institute, takes a closer look at exactly where growth is taking place. The findings paint a less rosy picture of the job-growth trends.

More low-wage jobs (4.5 million) were created since 2001 than middle- or high-wage jobs, and job creation was concentrated in the country’s largest cities along the coasts.

New York City saw the largest number of new U.S. jobs created in the last five years, with 740,000 new positions, an increase of 9 percent. L.A. saw an increase of 11.6 percent over the same period, with the addition of 600,000 jobs.

High-wage jobs are considered to be those paying upwards of $21.14 an hour. Mid-wage jobs pay between $13.84 and $21.14 an hour, and low-wage jobs pay $13.83 an hour or less.

Interestingly, Provo, Utah’s tech boom secured its position as number one in the country for proportional growth in both high-wage and mid-wage jobs, with increases of 26.6 percent and 29.2 percent respectively. In absolute numbers, though, the highest-paying jobs are still concentrated around San Francisco, New York, and Boston.

Low wage jobs, on the other hand, are found most in the central and southern areas the country. Texas and Florida have high concentrations of low-paying work, with McAllen, Texas, being the country’s worst metro area for pay.