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Where Are the Jobs? Down South Y'all

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It’s tough for even the most optimistically inclined among us to find much good to say about November’s employment report.

The labor market still looks lousy 18 months after the end of the recession: Payroll employment rose a smaller than expected 39,000 in November; wages were flat for the first time since June; the unemployment rate ticked back up to 9.8% from 9.6%; the U6 remained at a near record high of 17%.

Having said that, if you’re looking for a job, maybe the move to make is down South. Dennis Gartman, editor of The Gartman Letter, points out today in his morning missive that the South is on the rise again as the job growth in that region is stronger than is that of the North.

Specifically, the longtime trader points out that, in the past 10 years, those larger cities in the U.S. with the strongest jobs growth have all been in the South. Austin leads the way with job growth over that period of 14.1% followed by Northern Virginia where jobs have grown by 13.8%. Raleigh enjoyed job growth of 13.5%. Houston’s jobs grew by 11.7% and San Antonio’s jumped by 11.4%.

Not surprisingly, says Gartman, the South - and especially the cities noted above – also had the greatest net-in-migration during that same period. Raleigh’s population grew by 237,000; Dallas’ population grew by 177,000; San Antonio’s by 102,000; Houston’s by 59,000 and Austin’s by 51,000. There was one city in the North with a material net in-migration: Des Moines, Iowa, whose population grew via net in-migration of 64,000.

“The point here is that the South’s economics are still rising, while that of the formerly industrialized North is not, has not been for some while, and likely shall not be in the future,” says Gartman, who emphasizes that he considers himself a Southerner first and American second. “The country is moving centre-right philosophically and politically as it moves southward and westward geographically. These are well established trends and we’d not sell either of them short."
POSITION:  No positions in stocks mentioned.