Metro-level employment data for September, released October 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 Salt Lake City and New York are pacing the recovery among the top 50 metros, albeit by different measures of progress. Salt Lake City led in two of these three key measures.
The first, job growth, measures employment expansion by percentage for a given area relative to other areas. Salt Lake City surged in the job growth rankings during September, vaulting over 40 other locations as it increased its employment base by 1.9% from August. Salt Lake City has been one of the country’s top metros for adding jobs in the Construction of Buildings industry.
The second measure, 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 144,700 jobs added in September. The next-closest on the list is Boston, which gained 30,000 jobs in September. New York’s gain was larger than the next six locations combined. While New York’s month-to-month job growth of 1.7% was impressive given its market size, the city remains one of the 50 top metros with the most ground to make up. Its employment level is only 88.6% of February’s employment level, meaning the market’s job total is still down 11.4% compared to where it was before the coronavirus pandemic.
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, pre-COVID-19. No location has fully recovered the number of jobs it had in February, but Salt Lake City, as well as Oklahoma City and Indianapolis, were closest in September to their pre-pandemic job levels. Salt Lake City is a newcomer to this yardstick after experiencing strong growth in September, while the other four cities were also on the list in August. They can all be considered healthier than other metros because more of their jobs remain intact relative to earlier this year.
There are many ways to analyze which markets are currently the best for hiring. LaborIQ® projects some moderation in job growth for the remainder of 2020 when compared to record-setting months earlier this summer. As a result, recruitment firms and hiring managers can focus on locations 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.