Jan 18, 2022 - Economy & Business

The hot and not-so-hot job growth centers

Data: Indeed; Chart: Baidi Wang/Axios

Job openings have been roaring back across the country, but some metro areas are significantly hotter than others, per a new report from the jobs site Indeed.

Why it matters: Tracking growth in different cities gives us insight into how the pandemic is changing the geography of jobs.

By the numbers: The hottest city is Boise City, Idaho, with 94.8% job growth compared to its pre-pandemic baseline in February of 2020.

  • Boise City, a burgeoning tech hub, has seen steady job growth — and outpaced other U.S. cities — for the last decade or so, AnnElizabeth Konkel, an economist at Indeed, tells Axios.
  • Almost all of the cities in the top ten for job growth have a lower cost of living than the national average, Konkel notes. The exceptions are the Austin and Phoenix metro areas, which are right around the average.
  • "When people are thinking of where to live or take their next job, if they are considering moving, cost of living is always going to matter," she says.
  • Most of the top 10 are also cities in warm climates, which have attracted more pandemic-era movers than their colder counterparts, says Konkel.

The metro area that's lagging the most in job growth is Honolulu. That's due in large part to the hit that Hawaii's tourism industry has taken.

The bottom 10 also includes some of the country's biggest and most expensive cities — such as San Francisco, San Jose and Washington, D.C. — which typically lead in job growth.

  • New York City is also toward the bottom of the job growth list, although not in the bottom 10, Konkel says.
  • Those numbers reflect exoduses we've seen from places like San Francisco as workers are able to telecommute and chose to move to cheaper cities or closer to family.

One more job trend: The share of job postings on Indeed requiring applicants to get vaccinated is rising as COVID caseloads rise.

  • 5.9% of all postings call for vaccination, and that share is as high as 11.3% in Oregon.
  • That may not seem like much, but it's growing quickly, Konkel says. And it's significant that employers would openly ask for vaccination in such a tight labor market, where it might turn potential applicants away.

What to watch: We're still living through abnormal times, and it'll take some years after the pandemic is behind us to see if its effect on the geography of jobs lasts — or if the coastal superstar cities take that job growth back.

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