Top Markets for Hiring

March 18, 2022
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Author: Mallory Vachon, Ph.D., Sr. Economist

To kick off 2022, the economy experienced two strong months of job gains that exceeded expectations. The economy added 481,000 jobs in January and 678,000 in February. The economy has added an average of 562,000 jobs each month since January 2021 – that’s nearly three times the 190,000 average monthly job gains from 2015 through 2019.

Top Markets for Hiring | January 2022

Metro Employment Report

Metro area employment numbers are reported a few weeks after their national counterpart, and the January numbers released March 18, 2022 highlight key trends.

Top 10 Markets. The markets in the top 10 for job gains added 2.3 million jobs from January 2021 through January 2022, accounting for more than one in every three of the 6.7 million jobs added during that timeframe.

Hardest Hit Markets See Big Gains. The markets hardest hit by the pandemic – including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami, Boston and Philadelphia – were among the top places for job gains in from January 2021 through January 2022. For most of these markets, recovery of all pandemic job losses is not likely until 2023 or later, but these big gains represent important progress.

Recovery. Of the top ten markets for jobs, only Dallas and Atlanta Recovered have reached or exceeded pre-pandemic employment levels. Both markets recovered in 2021 and are now in job expansion mode.

Travel and Tourism Bolster Job Growth. Metros in the South and West – including Flagstaff, AZ; Kahului, HI; Las Vegas, NV; Napa and San Diego, CA; Orlando, FL; Santa Fe, NM – all had job growth rates over 9%, and Las Vegas led the nation 13.7% job growth. The job growth numbers for these markets show how important increased travel and tourism have been for many state and local economies.

Despite such good news about job gains and growth, many businesses across the country struggle to find and retain talent. Workers are quitting their jobs in record numbers – the voluntary quits rate topped 32% in 2021 compared to an average of around 25% from 2015-2019.

Workers are leaving their jobs for new roles with higher pay and better benefits or more flexibility. And even as businesses increase wages, pay may not be rising enough to keep up with inflation. Based on analysis from LaborIQ, many jobs – including data analyst, human resources manager and software engineer – show 10–15% gaps when comparing in-place salaries versus compensation the market is commanding today.

The outlook for 2022 remains strong but two big variables are the Russia-Ukraine war and the recent surge in COVID-19 cases in China. Both events have the potential to further disrupt the global supply chain, further exacerbating inflation and elevating the risk for a 2022 recession.