Commentary

Still a Long Way To Go for Detroit

The city still has a slow job growth compared to other large cities

There is never a shortage of hype about Detroit’s prospects. Even as people were fleeing the city in record numbers in the 2000s, there were regular proclamations that one major project or other was going to turn the city around. Things have changed for the city since its bankruptcy, but it hasn’t turned into the boomtown that boosters proclaim.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 16,015 more Detroit residents became employed from 2013 to 2017, a 7.7 percent increase. That’s moving in the right direction, but small job growth compared to other large cities. Of the largest 25 cities in the country, Detroit’s employment growth ranked 19th.

Large Cities In The U.S

Employment Growth 2013-2017

Phoenix 15.8%
Charlotte 15.7%
Denver 14.0%
Austin 13.4%
Nashville 13.3%
San Francisco 13.1%
Seattle 12.6%
Dallas 12.3%
San Antonio 10.7%
San Jose 10.4%
Fort Worth 10.3%
Los Angeles 10.2%
Boston 10.1%
Washington DC 10%
Indianapolis 9.7%
Columbus 9.6%
Jacksonville 9.5%
New York 8.3%
Detroit 7.7%
San Diego 7.4%
Memphis 5.5%
El Paso  5.5%
Philadelphia 5.4%
Chicago 4.3%
Houston  3.4%

After the 2000s, any growth for the city is good news. And Detroit’s employment growth is comparable with other Midwest cities like Indianapolis and Columbus, and even bested Chicago. Detroit is on a better path, but put into perspective, its growth rate is not exceptionally strong.