Apr 10, 2024 - News

Salt Lake City's job market ranked hottest in the nation

Illustration of an open briefcase with an upwards trending line popping out. 

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Salt Lake City ranked as the hottest job market in the nation in 2023, per an analysis by The Wall Street Journal.

The big picture: The strong job market has been mostly driven by white-collar industries like tech and finance, according to Adam Kamins, a regional economist for Moody's Analytics, which analyzed 320 U.S. metros with WSJ.

  • The pandemic years brought in workers from Texas and Western states like California to Utah, according to Phil Dean, chief economist at the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute.

What they're saying: "Both [sectors] have benefited from a highly educated population and in turn helped to attract not just remote workers but workers at firms that require at least some in-person presence," Kamins said in a statement to Axios.

How it works: WSJ and Moody's based the rankings on five factors: a metro's unemployment rate, labor-force participation and size, wages and shifts in employment levels.

Between the lines: Utah's economic diversity has also contributed to the job market, Dean told Axios.

  • The state's health care and energy sectors also saw broad growth.
  • Lower interest rates during the pandemic helped fuel growth in the tech sector, Gwen Kervin, a regional economist for the Utah Department of Workforce Services told Axios.
  • Computer scientists, web developers and computer systems designers are in high demand across all industries in the state, Kervin said.

The intrigue: For workers, key draws associated with Salt Lake City include a satisfactory quality of life and swift access to the Wasatch Front's outdoor recreation, particularly among tech employees.

Yes, but: Even as Salt Lake City's cost of living rises, they are still lower than the Northeast and the Pacific Coast, Kamins noted.

Zoom out: Florida cities like Jacksonville, Orlando and Tampa, as well as Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, were also listed in the top five job markets for 2023.

What we're watching: As population growth in Utah slows down, it could mean a shift in the state's job market.


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