Durham-Chapel Hill soared 24 spots, to No. 19, in the rankings of all U.S. metropolitan areas with at least 30,000 jobs. Raleigh-Cary tumbled 30 spots, to No. 38.
The rankings are based largely on federal job growth numbers for 336 metropolitan areas. Researchers assess the numbers for the current year, the previous year and the previous five years and also compare five-year growth rates over the past decade to come up with a score for each area.
In addition to the overall rankings, the metros are grouped by market size. Durham-Chapel Hill rose seven spots, to No. 4, in the midsize group, while Raleigh-Cary dropped seven spots in the large group, to No. 8, from No. 1 last year.
Joel Kotkin, one of the researchers who put together the rankings, said on his blog that Durham-Chapel Hill offers tax and housing-cost bargains compared to major markets such as San Jose, Calif., and Boston.
Asked why Raleigh-Cary fell, Kotkin said in an e-mail that “It is a drop of jobs that was a bit more than other high-flyers.”
But, Kotkin said, Raleigh-Cary’s job numbers were still relatively solid, especially considering how poor the U.S. economy has performed over the past 15 months. Both areas are still among the most popular in the nation for relocating, and Raleigh real estate continues to sell along with Durham and Chapel Hill real estate.
“In 2008, 2 percent growth made a city a veritable boom town,” Kotkin said on his blog.
“In past iterations, we saw many fast-growing economies – some adding jobs at annual rates of 3 percent to 5 percent,” said Kotkin.
The top city overall was Odessa, Texas. For the complete rankings, go to this page on NewGeography.com.