Top 10 Best-Performing Job Markets

April 23, 2021

The economic momentum already seen this year has led to more jobs and increased hiring across the U.S. ThinkWhy's talent intelligence software, LaborIQ, projects this dramatic rise in hiring to continue throughout the year, with a surge happening a few months faster than originally anticipated. Talent acquisition professionals tasked with numerous placements for various roles will need to know where to target their resources, as the competition for talent increases across the country.

Boise, Idaho has been a top-performing local economy.

LaborIQ ranks the 150 largest U.S. metropolitan areas based on key economic indicators to provide a holistic view of a market’s economy. Combined with the most recent state and metro employment figures released Friday, April 16 by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, we explore progress of top markets toward job growth and employment levels, as well as maintaining prowess in other categories such as wage growth, working age population growth and educational attainment of the workforce.

Of 150 markets ranked by LaborIQ, below are the top 10 and their month-to-month change from February to March.

LaborIQ market rankings March 2021

LaborIQ considers a variety of economic and demographic factors in the ranking to determine the overall best-performing locations. Since these indicators are susceptible to change, where a city – or metro – falls within the list may change from month-to-month.


Below are details as to why some metros moved up or down in the ranking from February to March.

  • Salt Lake City moved up from No. 8 to No. 4. Migration from California has led to many high-skilled workers and businesses settling in the area, aiding a near return to pre-pandemic employment levels.
  • Though Austin, Texas slipped from No. 7 to No. 8, it has consistently ranked in the top 10. Austin continues to benefit from corporate relocations to the area, and its lighter COVID restrictions allowed many businesses to remain open throughout the pandemic.
  • Jumping from No. 13 to No. 9, robust migration and population growth has helped Phoenix in its recovery.
  • Although Reno, Nev. fell from No. 6 to No. 10, it is one of the mid-sized metros closest to its pre-pandemic employment level.

For metros that have been able to avoid the constant economic ups and downs of the pandemic recession, their month-to-month rankings have not changed.

  • Both Boise City, Idaho and Ogden-Clearfield, Utah have reached their pre-pandemic employment levels. These locations have also benefited from remote workers leaving West Coast cities in favor of Boise City or Ogden-Clearfield.
  • The Dallas economy bounced back from February’s Winter Storm Uri with impressive job gain in March. The area continues to benefit from corporate relocations.

Related: Small States, Big Economic Gains

Multiple factors drive a location’s economic recovery. While the pandemic recession is one factor, its impact is not equally felt across U.S. cities.

As businesses gear up to fill the approximately 7.4 million job openings – the highest level of openings since 2019 – staying current on the trends that impact your hiring, retention and business growth strategies will help you smoothly transition out of the pandemic into the start of the current economic upswing.

LaborIQ by ThinkWhy reports, forecasts and advises on employment conditions and the impact to jobs, industries and businesses across all U.S. cities.