Metro-level employment data released September 18 by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics provides a snapshot of the nation’s hottest markets for hiring in the midst of COVID-19. This jobs data, together with an analysis of the nation’s top 50 most populous metros by LaborIQ® by ThinkWhy, shows that Austin, New York, and Tucson are pacing the economic recovery among these largest metros, albeit by different measures.
Job growth, for instance, measures employment expansion by percentage for a given area relative to other areas. Austin surged in the job growth rankings during the month of August, increasing its employment base by 2.2% from July. Austin has been one of the country’s top metros for adding jobs in the Financial Activities industry.
Job gain is an absolute measure of employment expansion in a location, with a bias toward areas with larger populations. New York tops this list again, with 173,900 jobs added in August. In fact, New York’s gain was almost as much as the next four locations combined. While New York’s month-to-month growth of 2.0% was also very impressive given its market size, the metro has the most ground to make up of all top 50 metros. Its employment level is only 87.2% of February’s employment level, meaning the market’s job total is still down 12.8% compared to February.
Other metros have fared better in this third measure of market health, which compares a market’s current employment level to the level it enjoyed in February, before COVID-19 hit. No metro has fully recovered the number of jobs it had in February, but the list below – topped by Tucson, Indianapolis and Austin – shows those metros closest in August to their pre-pandemic job levels. Although these markets (with the notable exception of Austin) might not necessarily show up on the biggest gain or growth lists at this point, they can be considered healthier than other metros because more jobs remain intact relative to earlier this year.
There are many ways to analyze which markets are the best for hiring. LaborIQ by ThinkWhy projects some moderation in job growth for the remainder of 2020 when compared to record-setting months earlier in the summer. As a result, recruitment firms and hiring managers should focus their efforts on metros that are closest to their previous levels of employment, as these markets and the businesses within them are displaying more resilience to the macro trends.
LaborIQ by ThinkWhy continuously monitors and forecasts labor data at all levels, measuring impact to cities, industries, occupations and business across the U.S.