Published on: April 05, 2022
BY TED C. JONES, PH.D.
While the pandemic winds have slowed (at least for now), interest rates, inflation and global issues now batter and pummel the U.S. economy and employment. Job recovery continues, though unevenly for many of the 380 Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) for which the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports monthly. Though the U.S. economy added 750,000 net new jobs in February 2022 (revised) when compared to the prior month, 50 MSAs (13.2 percent) either saw flat employment numbers or declining total number of jobs in that same period.
As of February 2022, three-in-10 MSAs (31 percent or 118 metros) had recovered to or topped pre-pandemic job numbers anchored in February 2020. Another 44 MSAs were within 1 percent of pre-pandemic job levels. Unfortunately, the remaining 57.3 percent ranged from 1 percent short of prior employment highs to a low of 10.4 percent deficit in Kahului-Wailuku-Lahaina, Hawaii.
The first two tables below show the 40 MSAs with the best and worst recovery of jobs comparing February 2022 to February 2020 – the month prior to the pandemic. The Prove-Orem, Utah MSA had 11.4 percent more total jobs in February 2022 vs February 2020, which even without the pandemic is an impressive achievement.
While smaller metros can be more nimble in job creation, that can become difficult in larger cities. In a smaller market one-large employer either hiring or firing can make a material impact on total employment. The next table shows the 40-best job-growth MSAs having at least 200,000 total jobs as of February 2022.
The last two tables detail the 40 MSAs each with the best and worst one-month job gains from January 2022 to February 2022.
To view the vast array of employment-related data available from the BLS click https://www.bls.gov/data/#employment
Just like people, no two metros are identical as their economic DNA varies. Jobs are everything to an economy. Still, after shedding more than 24 million jobs nationwide in March and April 2020, the recovery continues to exceed expectations of most economists and business experts.