Cities to see job gains in 2012, but many will struggle: report

WASHINGTON, D.C. ― Almost all U.S. metropolitan areas will see job growth in 2012, but for many areas it will still take years for employment to return to pre-recession levels, according to a report released on Wednesday by the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

All but three U.S. metro areas will have job gains this year, led by expected growth of 3 percent in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, according to the forecast, which was conducted by IHS Global Insight for the mayors’ group ahead of its annual meeting in Washington this week.

Employment will likely shrink the most in Carson City, Nev., falling by 1.1 percent. It will also drop in Odessa, Texas, by 0.1 percent, and in Midland, Texas, by 0.2 percent, IHS forecast.

Health services, trade, transportation, utilities and business services will provide the biggest jobs boost, the report found.

“By the end of this year, the report forecasts that almost every one of our 363 metro economies will see job gains, and the nation will have gained back 48 percent of its lost jobs,” said Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who is also president of the Conference of Mayors. “But despite this progress, one thing remains clear: the recovery is slow and it’s uneven.”

In 2011, employment declined in 125 metro areas.