If you had trouble finding a new job in Madison over the past 12 months it's understandable: the area hasn't added any.

New figures released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Monday show that job growth in the Madison Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) was absolutely flat between January 2010 and January 2011.

The Madison MSA, which includes Iowa and Columbia counties, reported no change in the 337,000 number of non-farm jobs over the period. The total also includes government positions.

That performance puts Madison 267th worst out of 372 metro areas based on job growth percentage over the past year. Yuma, Ariz. ranked No. 372 with a -3.16 percent decline in the number of jobs.

The report raises again the question of why Madison hasn't done better at creating new jobs despite its natural advantages. That issue was the subject of this Biz Beat posted last month.

Sandusky, Ohio was No. 1 in percentage job growth over the past year, adding 2,900 jobs or just over 9 percent to its total.

The Milwaukee MSA, which includes Waukesha and West Allis, was the leading area in Wisconsin for job growth both in terms of raw number of jobs added and on a percentage basis.  The Milwaukee area added 13,000 positions, good for 16th highest nationally in raw numbers among the nation's 372 metro areas and 95th on percentage basis.

Wausau, which lost 300 jobs or 0.454 percent of its total in the last year, was the lowest ranking Wisconsin metro in the report at 311th on a percentage basis. Janesville, which lost 100 jobs or 0.17 percent, ranked 284th worst.

Overall, nineteen U.S. metros gained at least 10,000 jobs since January 2010, with two Texas markets -- Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston - leading the way with respective increases of 63,600 and 56,600 jobs.

Rounding out the top five were Chicago (up 42,600 jobs), Washington (up 40,800) and New York City (up 34,600).

Among other Wisconsin cities, Appleton was second with 1,700 new jobs, ranking it 115th. Eau Claire added 1,600 new jobs, ranking it 118th.

The Sacramento, Calif. area was saddled with the biggest decline, losing 14,500 jobs in the past year. Atlanta and Las Vegas came next, with respective declines of 12,300 and 9,500.


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