Comparison of Job and Wage Growth Performance in 25 Major U.S. Markets

August 2, 2019
Author: Jay Denton

Whether your metro falls in or out of the 25 selected markets, watch where your wage and job growth averages lie, along with those of your neighboring cities. This will drive several of the primary talent acquisition and retention strategies in your organization.

Labor and Wage Growth

Prime Performers:

Seattle, Nashville, San Jose, Sacramento, Dallas, Orlando

At this stage of the economic cycle, there are top performing metros like Orlando, Dallas and Seattle gaining momentum by producing robust job and wage growth. Several of these metros enjoy healthy net migration of people and businesses due to the lower cost of living and lower cost of doing business. Others are driving job growth as tech-driven cities. Prime performing metros should keep doing what they are doing, keeping in mind that companies in other metros are eyeing your employees.

Watchful Wages:

Austin, Atlanta, Miami, Austin, Charlotte, Houston, Phoenix, San Francisco

These metros show robust job growth but anemic wage growth. With this kind of wage growth, going forward, expect tech-industry employees in tech-dominated metros to move elsewhere. Unless companies in these metros are freelancing or outsourcing to another country, pulling workers to the metro area would be hard fought despite many other metro area amenities.

Watch for Workers:

Denver, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Anaheim, Chicago, NYC, San Antonio

There are metros like Denver, Los Angeles and Minneapolis that lead in the wage growth category but show lower than average job growth. In these metros, unemployment rate remains low but with healthy job openings. Companies in these metros should create strategies to attract new workers from neighboring cities and work to keep current employees engaged.

Cause for Concern:

Washington, D.C., Boston, San Diego, Indianapolis, Columbus

These metros show lower than average wage growth alongside lower than average job growth. With the lower unemployment rate across the U.S., expect these metros to lose workers if the current pace of wage growth continues. These metros are slowing their wage growth at a time when they need it most to attract talent to the metro. Companies in this metro should take a hard look at their compensation and benefits package before it gets too late to attract as well as retain employees.