2021 Job Growth: Top 5 U.S. Cities

June 23, 2021

Labor shortages are impacting productivity and growth across multiple industries, and stirring wage growth and inflation debates.

As the U.S. economy regains its strength, many businesses struggle attract the talent needed to satisfy consumer demand. Talent acquisition professionals who can pinpoint the best locations to target recruitment efforts and source talent will have an advantage.

With low unemployment for many occupations, the new jobs being added mean talent availability is tightening and hiring managers will need to assess compensation plans to compete for talent.

Just over one year ago, unprecedented job loss impacted the economy. To reveal how markets are faring in the ongoing recovery, click the dots in the map to see key hiring stats for the 50 largest labor markets in the U.S.

ThinkWhy’s talent intelligence software, LaborIQ®, assesses the health of job markets based on:

  • Number of new jobs added
  • Percentage of growth in jobs from the prior period
  • Current employment level compared to the pre-pandemic level

Most New Jobs Added

The highest volumes of new jobs are influenced by a city’s population. Since overall job gain usually favors bigger cities, it isn’t surprising that Los Angeles continues to top the list and continues to hold the top spot with 165,500 jobs added in 2021.

Not only are the metros listed below leading in job gains, they are also projected to be some of the top locations for jobs added over the next few years, which suggests a lot of demand for talent acquisition professionals.

Best Month-to-Month Improvement

Of the 50 most populous metro areas, the following cities are leading in job growth.

For a metro the size of Los Angeles, it is impressive that it remains in the top five for both job gain and growth, while its overall employment level is still down 9.1% compared to before the pandemic.


Pre-pandemic Employment Levels Comparison

To shed light on the shifts in talent availability, we've compared current employment levels to that of February 2020, prior to the pandemic-induced economic fallout. Businesses in these cities are likely to source talent in alternate locations for remote work or relocation.

As shown below, the metro closest to its pre-pandemic standing is Salt Lake City. Within the top five, only Tampa and Phoenix swapped positions at the fifth and sixth spots.


Even with economic recovery and job gains underway, businesses cannot hire talent fast enough to keep up with demand.

In approximately half of states, the additional stimulus benefits will end by early July, which could draw people off and back into the labor force.

Additionally, more people are quitting their jobs in record numbers, a signal that more employees are open to leaving their current jobs for a new one.

With U.S. employers facing the greatest wave of resignations in history and a tight labor supply for many roles, now is the time to plan ahead, assess retention risks and win new talent with today's compensation demands.

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