Tucson is among the top cities in the country for job growth, an analysis by a national economist shows.

The city experienced a 4.2 percent increase in jobs between July 2015 and July 2016, Jed Kolko wrote in a Bloomberg article, citing data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics in metro areas with 500,000 or more people.

“Some cities in the south and west of the country — where labor markets are coming from a lower base — are currently in the throes of strong headline job growth,” said Kolko, an economist who specializes in U.S. cities and the future of work.

Tucson ranked third , behind Ogden-Clearfield, Utah, and Provo-Orem, Utah, which both posted job growth of 4.6 percent.

Tulsa, Oklahoma, had the worst job figures between July 2015 and July 2016 with minus-1.3 percent growth.

Kolko noted that the jobs fuel demand for housing. In Tucson, housing analysts are seeing optimism from homebuilders as permits continue to rise and home sales remain strong.

“This is a tribute to the work of many who have come to see that our path to prosperity for all is a new openness to business opportunity and intelligent growth,” Mayor Jonathan Rothschild said. “We are not going to rest on our laurels. We have to work every day to continue the momentum.”

Earlier this year, economists from the University of Arizona Eller College of Management predicted that within the next year or two the region could add jobs at a faster pace than the national average.

Potential risks to the job growth include a spike in oil prices, global downturn and falling exports due to the strong dollar.

Economists say making higher education affordable, increased graduation rates, strong coordination between colleges and industries, and promotion of research and development are keys to keeping the region’s economy strong.

Contact reporter Gabriela Rico at grico@tucson.com