The June employment report for metropolitan areas was out on Thursday and the story did not change much from what we have seen in previous reports this year: signs are pointing to slowing growth in many of the nation's hottest markets.
For the third month in a row, only three large (total employment of at least one million) metros--Orlando (3.8%), Phoenix (3.3%), and Dallas (3.2%)--exceeded three percent in year-over-year job growth. That's down significantly from where we finished in 2018, with seven large metros averaging three percent or better for the year: Orlando, Riverside, Phoenix, Austin, Sacramento, Nashville, and Las Vegas.
The deceleration has been quite sharp in some places. Austin, for example, rattled off 96 straight months of three percent or better year-over-year job growth between October 2010 and September 2018, including a remarkable 44 out of 45 months at four percent or better during that stretch. But 2019 has been a much different story. Austin is treading water at 2.2%, on average. Riverside ranked second among large metros with 3.4% job growth in 2018, but has spent most of 2019 under two percent.
Is growth finally slowing in markets like Austin? Everybody must eventually drop out of ludicrous speed, after all.
Or, perhaps we are reading too much into the jobs data. Tight labor market conditions, exacerbated by rising cost of living, could be constraining job growth while the rate of overall economic growth (e.g., GDP) continues. Payrolls grow only if you can find workers to fill the jobs.
We will know more when the next round of GDP data is published.
*All figures here are total nonfarm employment, not seasonally adjusted.