MSA Job Performance and Recovery from the Pandemic to March 2022: One-Third of the Way There

Following the loss of 22 million jobs in the U.S. in the first two months of the pandemic in 2020, all but 1.6 million have been recovered – numerically speaking. However, that recovery has not been uniform across the U.S. Among the 380 Metropolitan Statistical Aras (MSAs), only 123 (32.4 percent) have clawed back to at least pre-pandemic job numbers as of March 2022, compared to February 2020.

The first three tables show the 123 MSAs that are back to pre-pandemic or better job numbers, comparing March 2022 to February 2020, the month prior to the pandemic. Impressive are the Provo-Orem, Utah and St George, Utah MSAs; up double digits at 11.2 percent and 10.0 percent, respectively.

Unfortunately, the remaining 67.6 percent ranged from a job deficit of at least 0.1 percent versus February 2020 to a low of 10.4 percent in Kahului-Wailuku-Lahaina, Hawaii. The 40 worst-performing MSAs are detailed in the next table.

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 March 2022.

The last two tables detail the 40 MSAs each with the best and worst one-month job gains from February 2022 to March 2022.

View the vast array of employment-related data available from the BLS.

The attached PDF includes these metrics in addition to 12-month job performance numbers and total employment as of March 2022 for all 380 MSAs, sorted by state.

As stated last month in the February version of this blog:

“Just like people, no two metros are identical as their economic DNA varies. Jobs are everything to an economy. Still, after shedding more than 22 million jobs nationwide in March and April 2020, the recovery continues to exceed expectations of most economists and business experts.”