Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Lingering post-pandemic remote work could redistribute some New York City and Silicon Valley jobs to the American heartland, and smaller cities are already competing to attract talent — but it won't be so easy.

The big picture: Although U.S. workers will have the option to scatter and get out of the crowded and expensive metros, the pull of those places may be too strong for the second-tier cities to win out.

Driving the news: We're living the age of winner-take-all cities, with just the top metros vacuuming up all of the wealth and job growth. "It has become very clear that a very short list of places have extreme economic magnetism," said Mark Muro of the Brookings Institution.

  • But now, as companies like Facebook, Twitter, Google and Coinbase say they'll let some portion of their employees work from anywhere, smaller cities are offering incentives for those workers to come to town.
  • Savannah, Georgia, has announced a new $2,000 per remote worker relocation benefit as an incentive. "[W]hether or not the company is headquartered here, we want the high wage earners that can be remote to move here," Jennifer Bonnett of the Savannah Economic Development Authority told Fast Company.
  • There are similar incentives offered by Tulsa, Oklahoma; Topeka, Kansas; and Vermont, per Fast Company.

And there's some evidence that the efforts of smaller cities might be working. "Zillow and Redfin are both reporting spikes in single-family home searches in smaller cities," the Wall Street Journal reports.

Yes, but: Such incentives might not be enough.

  • Workers may be unwilling to leave the major metros if they know their compensation may go down. (For example, Facebook has said it would adjust pay to local cost of living for remote workers.)
  • And there can be a real fear of becoming marginalized once you're no longer seen in the office each day, the Journal notes.
  • On top of that, there's an allure to living in the big coastal cities that's impossible for smaller metros to replicate. Many young people choose New York or San Francisco or Los Angeles precisely because of the bustling crowds and nightlife.

The bottom line: For second-tier cities, "the starting viewpoint should be a skepticism about massive change and decentralization," Muro said. "But announcements like those of Facebook and Twitter do suggest that the current status quo might not be immutable."

Go deeper: Not all tech employees can work from home

Go deeper

Mexican leaders call for tighter border control as COVID-19 cases increase in U.S.

Commuters line up to cross to the United States at the San Ysidro crossing port in Tijuana, Baja California state, Mexico. Photo: Guillermo Arias/AFP/Getty Images

Mexican leaders are calling for stronger enforcement on its northern border as the number of coronavirus cases in the southwestern U.S. continues to rise, The Washington Post reports.

Why it matters: Mexico worries the growing number of COIVD-19 cases in the U.S. could threaten their communities' own safety and ability to combat the pandemic. Hundreds of thousands of people living in the U.S. have continued to cross into Mexico during the pandemic, the Post notes.

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Data: Compiled from state health departments by Axios; Map: Danielle Alberti/Axios

At least 15 states broke their single-day novel coronavirus infection records this week, according to state health department data reviewed by Axios.

The big picture: The number of coronavirus cases increased in the vast majority of states over the last week, and decreased in only two states plus the District of Columbia, Axios' Andrew Withershoop and Caitlin Owens report.

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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The U.S. has reached new highs in single-day coronavirus infections for three consecutive days this week, per data from Johns Hopkins and the COVID Tracking Project.

The big picture: The number of coronavirus cases increased in the vast majority of states over the last week, and decreased in only two states plus the District of Columbia, Axios' Andrew Witherspoon and Caitlin Owens report.