Mid-Sized Cities are The Engines of America’s Job Recovery

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The Big Apple? Rotten to the core. The City of Angels? Its wings are clipped. The Windy City? All out of bluster. The DMV? Living there is like standing in line at one.

Okay, maybe that’s overdoing it. But new data does show that America’s big coastal cities are taking a back seat to their mid-sized, flyover counterparts, at least when it comes to leading America’s job recovery.

Utahkin’ to Me?

Half of US metro areas are on track to reclaim pre-pandemic employment levels by the end of the year, according to a new Economic Innovation Group report. That’s a pretty remarkable achievement considering everything that happened in the last 24 months.

But leading the charge are cities in Texas and Utah, which have already surpassed their 2019 job levels, while America’s biggest metro areas are lingering well behind them:

  • Employment has grown 4.1% in Austin, Texas since December 2019, the most among America’s 50 largest metro areas. Salt Lake City earned second place with 3.1% growth, followed by Dallas, Tampa, Phoenix, Jacksonville, and Raleigh, North Carolina.
  • New Orleans is the worst-performing metro area, with employment shrinking by 8.4%, and in second place was America’s largest city, New York, with a 7.1% decrease in employment. The country’s tech capital, San Francisco, was fourth-worst with a 5.8% decrease in employment, while Los Angeles was tenth-worst with 5.2%.

Strong Before the Storm: “The primary reason why these metros are leading the recovery is that they were seeing very robust job growth in the two years prior to the pandemic,” wrote August Benzow, an analyst at EIG. “The pandemic itself was just a bump in the road. It didn’t knock them off their strong trajectories.”