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Private Sector Loses 4.5 Million Jobs in Past 4 Years

November 9, 2011

Businesses in America’s 100 biggest markets have reduced their workforces by 4.5 million employees since the onset of the recession in 2007, The Business Journal’s On Numbers reported today.

Private-sector companies employed 75.07 million workers in the top 100 metropolitan areas as of September 2011. That was down from 79.56 million in the same month four years ago, according to the On Numbers analysis of data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The Los Angeles area suffered the biggest decline, with 447,800 private-sector jobs eliminated during the four-year period. That works out to an average loss of 306 jobs each day.

Ten other markets had more than 100,000 private-sector jobs cut since 2007, led by Chicago (down 279,600), New York City (down 210,200), Atlanta (down 208,100) and Phoenix (down 202,700).

The On Numbers study also calculated percentage declines in private-sector employment. Twelve metro areas suffered drops of more than 10 percent, with Cape Coral-Fort Myers, Fla., the worst at 15.3 percent.

The database contains statistics for all 100 markets. Private-sector employment differs from the wider measure of non-farm employment, which was the subject of the On Numbers report. Non-farm totals include government jobs at the local, state and federal levels.

Only six of the 100 biggest metros have added private-sector jobs since the recession’s arrival. Houston leads in raw numbers (up 23,000) and McAllen-Edinburg, Texas, is No. 1 in percentages (up 3.0 percent).

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