When it comes to major metropolitan areas, Atlanta ranks No. 2 in job growth, according to a new study by Arizona State University.
Only Houston beats Atlanta, according to researcher Lee McPheters, whose findings are based on the latest jobs figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Atlanta had 3.1 percent job growth between January 2011 and January 2012, compared with Houston’s 3.7 percent growth. The figures reflect non-agricultural job growth among populations of at least a million workers.
Rounding out top job-producing metro areas were Denver (3), Dallas (4), Seattle (5), Cincinnati (6), Phoenix (7), Riverside, Calif,, and Tampa (both tied for (8) and Pittsburgh (10).
The research supports a growing consensus that the gradually improving economy is fueling job growth across the country and in Georgia.
A recent Manpower survey of 140 Georgia employers found that 20 percent plan to hire more workers in the second quarter, while 69 percent plan to maintain current levels.
Overall, the U.S. economy added 1,986,000 jobs between January 2011 and January 2012, a 1.6 percent increase, McPheters said. An overwhelming majority of the jobs were created in the service sector.
While Georgia was not among the top 10 job-producing states, McPheters noted the state recorded 7.13 percent job growth in the professional and business services sector. That represents 37,000 new jobs.
Among states, job growth was highest in North Dakota, West Virginia and Utah, but as the researchers noted, because those states have small populations, small increases in the number of jobs created can amplify percentage gains.