Longview also ranked third in the overall best U.S. cities for jobs, coming in ahead of the major Texas metropolitan areas of Austin-Round Rock and Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, which came in at sixth and ninth respectively. The region’s labor force is widely distributed across several sectors. Although growth in many industries has significantly slowed over the last five years, most areas continue to see growth. Natural resources, mining and construction, for example, grew 5.9 percent in 2008 — and 53.5 percent in the period between 2003 and 2008. Longview’s manufacturing sector, which decreased 3.4 percent in 2008, has still seen an overall cumulative growth of 9.8 percent since 2003.
Texas claims four of the top 10 small cities spots on the list — No. 1 Odessa, No. 3 Longview, No. 5 Killeen-Temple-Fort Hood and No. 6 Laredo. “Small” areas have as many as 150,000 jobs. On the overall list, Texas claims seven of the top 10 spots — No. 1 Odessa, No. 3 Longview, No. 5 Killeen-Temple-Fort Hood, No. 6 Austin-Round Rock, No. 7 Laredo, No. 8 McAllen-Edinburg-Mission and No. 9 Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown.
The index is calculated from a normalized, weighted summary of: 1) recent growth trend: the current and prior year’s employment growth rates, with the current year emphasized (two points); 2) mid-term growth: the average annual 2003-2008 growth rate (two points); 3) long-term trend: the sum of the 2003-2008 and 1998-2002 employment growth rates multiplied by the ratio of the 1998-2002 growth rate over the 2003-2008 growth rate (two points); and 4) current year growth (one point).