Economic growth in the U.S. has failed to accelerate this year, and instead, forecasters have been lowering their estimates for growth. The IMF, for example, expects output to grow 2% in 2014, down from its previous estimate of 2.7%. And the long term doesn't look much better -- the Federal Reserve now projects the U.S. economy's growth potential could be as small as 2.1% a year. But you may not know the economy is doing this lousy if you live in close to two dozen metropolitan areas that are expected to grow at least 4% for the rest of this decade, bringing jobs along with them, according to a study released by the U.S. Conference of Mayors.
So where is the opportunity? The study finds almost all of the fastest-growing areas will be in the South and West. Of the 21 metro areas expected to lead growth, six are in Texas and four are in Florida. Construction, energy, computer jobs and professional business services will be major sources of the growth there, the study projects.
In the accompanying video, Yahoo Finance Editor-in-Chief Aaron Task points out that both Texas and Florida have low tax rates. Texas has also benefited from the U.S. energy/fracking boom while investments in tourism have benefited Florida.
Universal recently expanded its Wizarding World of Harry Potter attraction in Orlando, which is expected to draw in big crowds when it officially opens July 8.
Midland, Texas, is at the top of the fastest-growing city list, with growth expected to be 5.8%. The Wall Street Journal reports agriculture, construction and mining industries are fueling expansion there.
In general, the report finds almost half of all metro areas will return to pre-recession employment levels by the end of this year. Low paying administrative and support services jobs will grow the fastest, outpacing higher paying jobs.
Also, the trend of people moving to metro areas (these include cities along with their surrounding suburbs) and away from nonmetro areas is expected to continue.
And when it comes to the biggest expected economic loser in the report, that title goes to upstate New York. Five of the 10 slowest economies are projected to be in New York state, with the cities of Binghamton and Utica-Rome growing only 1%.
Projected average annual economic growth rates between 2013 - 2020
Top 10 Fastest-growing
1. Midland, Texas 5.8%
2. Greeley, Colorado 4.8%
3. St. George, Utah 4.6%
4. Provo-Orem, Utah 4.6%
5. Naples-Marco Island, Florida 4.5%
6. Austin-Round Rock-San Marcos, Texas 4.4%
7. Raleigh-Cary, North Carolina 4.3%
8. Laredo, Texas 4.3%
9. Palm Coast, Florida 4.3%
10. Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers, Ark.-Mo. 4.2%
Top 10 Slowest-Growing
1. Binghampton, New York 1.0%
2. Utica-Rome, New York 1.0%
3. Pine Bluff, Arkansas 1.3%
4. Johnstown, Pennsylvania 1.3%
5. Atlantic City-Hammonton, New Jersey 1.4%
6. Danville, Virginia 1.4%
7. Beaumont-Port Arthur, Texas 1.4%
8. Kingston, New York 1.4%
9. Elmira, New York 1.5%
10. Buffalo-Niagara Falls, New York 1.5%
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