Top U.S. Cities for Hiring and Jobs

March 30, 2021

This is likely to be one of the biggest years of hiring on record. The economy has recently regained momentum. While unexpected events impacting local labor markets, such as Winter Storm Uri in Texas, have temporarily derailed progress, the overall U.S. economy is headed in the right direction. Looking at the latest metro-level employment data for February from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, we can highlight which locations are making up the most ground recovering jobs.

As economic activity expands, businesses will need to hire to meet customer demand. Talent acquisition professionals will want to know where to source talent and target recruitment efforts. Click on the dots in the map above to see key hiring stats for the 50 largest labor markets in the U.S.

Below, find out which top labor markets topped our lists for monthly job growth, job gain level, and percentage of jobs left to recapture compared to the pre-pandemic employment level.

Are you ready to see the nation’s hottest hiring markets in February 2021?

Job Growth

February metro-level employment data, combined with LaborIQ® by ThinkWhy’s analysis of the nation’s top 50 most populous metro areas, show the following cities lead in job growth.

These five cities experienced the highest job growth in February. Seasonally adjusted job growth shows where jobs are created month-to-month and allows comparisons of job growth between metros with varying characteristics.


Job Gain

Job gain is influenced by a location’s population and is a measure of the number of jobs for a given period. Since overall job gain usually favors bigger cities, it isn’t surprising that Los Angeles tops the list. By sheer volume, LaborIQ expects larger markets to continue to lead in job gain. While the pandemic has reshaped these economies in unique ways, talent acquisition professionals can expect to have many positions to fill as economic activity steadily increases.

Pre-pandemic Employment Levels

Another metric that sheds light on the labor market is how the current employment level compares to that of February 2020, which preceded the pandemic economic fallout. One year into the pandemic, this metric is still a good indicator to track the pace of the economic recovery. This metric may not shift drastically month-to-month, but any changes to it is a good vital sign for a metro’s economy during the recovery. LaborIQ lists the following five cities as being closest to their pre-pandemic employment levels.

The lists above focus on the top hiring markets but refer to the map above to find opportunities for your business. Locations underperforming in these categories, particularly related to pre-pandemic employment levels, could have a desirable talent pool or customer base for your business.


LaborIQ projected job growth in early 2021 to be slow compared to record-setting growth during summer 2020, which has proven to be true. Even so, momentum in adding jobs back is increasing. As the virus is more controlled, consumers have begun to spend more. Some of the hardest hit industries and cities may see a surge in the need to hire for positions that have been vacant since April 2020. Human resources and talent acquisition teams will likely start to have hiring challenges related to finding enough talent. As confidence grows in the economy, employees may be more open to switching jobs, especially in cities seeing rapid job growth and have already surpassed their pre-pandemic employment levels. In these cities, retaining top talent will become a bigger challenge than it has been the past 12 months.

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