Best cities for jobs 2012

by Ryan Streeter on May 1, 2012. Follow Ryan on Twitter.

No surprise, I suppose, that Austin still sits atop the list. In fact, Austin and Houston are heads and shoulders above 3rd place measured by overall index scores.

Below is the 2012 list of the top 25 best large cities for jobs, from the annual list that Joel Kotkin and Michael Shires do for Forbes.

Some quick notes:

(1) It’s a healthy mix of red and blue. One could try to draw political conclusions from the list, but that would be hard. Better to look at the policy environment and what new and established companies in a given city are doing.

(2) Washington, DC, dropped some spots from last year. Yea! Washington has been a steady jobs machine as its power grew during the downturn, so its drop signals some health in the economy.

(3) While California continues its debt-infused bender like a drunken 20-something careening down Sunset Blvd., Silicon Valley and the Bay Area still defy the Golden State trend. I noticed when doing this piece with the cool maps on CA outmigration in 2010 that the only in-migration was into the Bay Area (I didn’t include that map, but it was “blacker” like the Texas maps). The sheer force of its innovation-driven economy sustains the regional economy there despite the state’s suicidal policy environment (imagine what the Bay Area would be if California’s political leaders were sane!).

(4) Texas still rocks. Man, when you add up the combined GDP of the Texas cities on the list (I haven’t done it, but if you try it you’ll see what I mean), you realize that America’s economy would be quite a bit different without the Lone Star State. I think we’re all kind of getting tired of writing about this, but hey, give Texas credit – they keep plowing along down there, way out ahead of the rest of us.