Oklahoma City, Okla., had the highest score on Gallup's Job Creation Index among the 50 largest U.S. metro areas in 2011, followed by Pittsburgh, Pa., and several Southern metros. More than one in three workers in each of the top-performing metro areas said their employer was hiring or expanding the size of its workforce, but Oklahoma City led because of the relatively low percentage of workers (12%) who said their employer was letting workers go or decreasing the size of its workforce.
The results are based on Gallup Daily tracking interviews with U.S. workers conducted from January-December 2011. Gallup interviewed at least 698 respondents in each of the 50 largest metro areas in 2011, including 1,000 or more in 38 metro areas. Nationwide in 2011, an average of 31% of U.S. workers said their employer was hiring, while 18% said their employer was letting workers go, for a U.S. Job Creation Index score of +13.
The top-performing large metro areas have above-average hiring levels combined with below-average levels of letting go, resulting in high Job Creation Index scores. On the other side of the spectrum, some metro areas have relatively low hiring combined with high levels of letting go, resulting in low Job Creation Index scores.
The top five large metros in Gallup's Job Creation Index for 2011 had an average unemployment rate of 7.4% in January 2012, according to not-seasonally adjusted data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Because Gallup's Job Creation Index is based on employees' perceptions about their own place of work, the data do not necessarily reflect the magnitude of hiring or firing that is taking place and, further, employees living in these areas may be reporting workforce expansion and contraction that is happening outside their own location. This may also indicate that Oklahoma City has some of the most secure and confident workers in the nation.
Statewide, Oklahoma was tied at number three with Iowa in the index. This may reflect the growth trends we have seen in the state over the past two years.