The Top 10 Fastest Recovering U.S. Metros

July 21, 2020
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Author: Jonathan Blair

Major metros stretching from New York to San Francisco were among the nation’s 10 fastest-recovering regions in June as the economy struggled to overcome the coronavirus pandemic, a new LaborIQ® by ThinkWhy analysis shows. The Top 10 list was based on seasonally adjusted total job gain from May to June, the most accurate, real-time measure of the resilience of a Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) in the face of record unemployment caused by COVID-19.

Economic recovery across the U.S. will vary, based upon each metro's unique circumstances.

It should be noted that while several of the Top 5 metros showed big job gains in June, they were climbing back from steep overall job losses suffered when the pandemic began. Indeed, some still have substantially fewer than 90.0% of the jobs they had in February. (For comparison’s sake, the U.S. as a whole now has 90.4% of the jobs it had in February.) Additionally, it’s important to note that the government’s June jobs figures were completed on June 12, and coronavirus cases and deaths in multiple regions have spiked since then. In fact, four metros on the list – Los Angeles, San Francisco, Dallas-Fort Worth and Miami – are in states where infections have been soaring, causing officials to warn they might have to shut down again.

Despite such potential impacts, these MSAs have proven their ability to rebound so far from the nation’s sharpest downturn since the Great Depression.

  1. New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA added 289,200 jobs in June, outpacing all U.S. metros in job gain. Led by year-over-year, non-seasonally adjusted job growth in the Health Care and Social Assistance sector, New York by June had 84.0% of the jobs it had in February, when the pandemic began to hobble the economy.
  2. Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA, which in June had 88.0% of the jobs it had in February, showed a gain in June of 222,700 jobs. Its leading year-over-year job growth came in Education and Health Services-Colleges, Universities and Professional Schools.
  3. Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, MI added 143,000 jobs in June, paced by growth in Financial Activities and Retail Trade. Detroit had 86.0% of the jobs in June that it had in February.
  4. Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI gained 105,000 jobs in June, led by slight growth in Government, and comebacks in industries including Retail Trade and Leisure and Hospitality. By June, the metro had 90.0% of the jobs it had in February.
  5. Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD showed a gain of 100,900 jobs in June, when it had 89.0% of the jobs it had in February. The MSA experienced its most substantial job growth across the Government subsectors.
  6. Dallas-Ft. Worth-Arlington, TX added 94,900 jobs in June, led by growth in Retail Trade, Manufacturing and Financial Activities. The metro is now at 94.0% of its February employment level.
  7. Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, FL gained 92,600 jobs from May to June, when it had 92.0% of the jobs it had in February. Food and Beverage stores grew year-over-year by 4.5%.
  8. Atlanta-Sandy-Springs Roswell, GA added 86,000 jobs in June, putting the metro at 93.0% of its February employment. Growth was distributed across a number of industry sectors, including Retail Trade; Hospitals; Construction; and Data Processing, Hosting and Related Services.
  9. Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, NV gained 73,600 jobs in June, when it had 85.0% of the jobs it had in February. Robust growth occurred year-over-year in multiple sectors. Among them were Professional and Business Services, Leisure and Hospitality, Retail Trade and Construction.
  10. San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA added 70,700 jobs in June, bringing it to 88.0% of the jobs in had in February. The metro’s performance was led by growth in the Federal Government sector.

Citing factors like density, social unrest, and budgetary problems, some have warned the pandemic may eventually trigger a shift in labor-market growth from major metros to smaller cities and suburbs. But, as this list shows, it’s mainly the nation’s biggest MSAs that are continuing to lead the jobs comeback so far.

ThinkWhy continuously monitors and forecasts labor data at all levels, measuring impact to MSAs, industries, occupations and businesses across the U.S.