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Little Rock Stands Out in Growth of Good Jobs

Saturday, October 1, 2005

Job growth has a direct impact on a city's economy and its social structure. Urban areas that experience rapid growth in the number of high-paying jobs tend to see incomes rise throughout the entire labor market. Such growth also is associated with lower rates of crime, higher property values and rising educational levels. Unfortunately, the growth of low-paying jobs does not have the same outcomes.

Those are the results of a new St. Louis Fed study, "Employment Growth in America: Exploring Where Good Jobs Grow." The study captures data on 206 cities across the country, with special emphasis on the four major metropolitan areas in the Federal Reserve's Eighth District: Little Rock, Louisville, Memphis and St. Louis.

The study found that between 1980 and 2000, Little Rock led the way in the growth of high-paying jobs in the District. Following close behind was Louisville, then Memphis and St. Louis, which experienced the slowest growth.

The study suggests that the growth of good jobs tends to be associated with:

  • the education level of the work force;
  • a larger number of finance, insurance or real estate jobs;
  • lower rates of union membership and low wage levels; and
  • the presence of certain amenities, such as movie theaters, restaurants and a warm climate.

For a copy of the study, visit or call Cindy Davis at (314) 444-8761.

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