Top 5 Best and Worst U.S. Cities for Job Growth

November 20, 2020

Metro-level employment data for October, released November 20 by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, provides a snapshot of the nation’s hottest hiring markets during the economic recovery. This jobs data, together with an analysis of the nation’s top 50 most populous metros by LaborIQ® by ThinkWhy, shows that Virginia Beach, Va.; Raleigh, N.C.; Los Angeles; Memphis, Tenn. and San Jose, Calif. are pacing the recovery among the top 50 cities.

Job growth varies across the U.S. and depends on multiple factors.

Job growth measures employment expansion by percentage for a given area relative to other areas. After essentially no growth in September, Virginia Beach jumped in the job growth rankings during October, vaulting over 43 other locations as it increased its employment base by 2.1%.

Virginia Beach and Raleigh saw strong year-over-year growth in Professional, Scientific and Technical Services in October at 4.3% and 5.3%, respectively. White-collar roles in technology-focused professions have held up well relative to most other occupations.

On another note, other cities did not have as much traction at recouping jobs in October. Rounding out the bottom of the list are New York; Hartford, Conn.; Seattle; Chicago and Milwaukee. Moving into winter, some of these cold-weather locations could face challenges maintaining jobs in the restaurant industry. Warmer weather made it more feasible for patrons to dine outdoors and bring some jobs back to an industry that was severely impacted by the pandemic.


LaborIQ® by ThinkWhy provides unique analysis on which markets are primed for hiring given current economic conditions. In the near term, the expectation is some moderation in job growth for the remainder of 2020 compared to record-setting months earlier this summer. As a result, recruitment firms and hiring managers should focus their efforts on cities seeing positive shifts in job growth from one month to the next, as these job markets and the businesses within them are more resilient to the macro trends in the economy.

LaborIQ by ThinkWhy continuously forecasts and reports labor data at all levels, measuring impact to cities, industries, occupations and business across the U.S.