Puzzle Pieces to the U.S. Economy - MSA Employment Performance: 1-Month, 1-Year, 5-Years, 10-Years & Post-Pandemic as of August 2023

One of our former Co-CEO’s often said Stewart was a Local National Company. Real estate and title insurance are always local in nature, but the pieces of the puzzle make up the entire picture. The same is true about the U.S. economy and jobs. Each individual town, city, Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), county and State all add up to the national economy and employment market. They are different from each other but also change over time on their own.

MSA jobs are reported each month by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). All 380 MSAs reported by them are included in this analysis using Seasonally Adjusted Data. And just like puzzle pieces, some are bland and others dynamic and bright.

As of the end of August 2023, 253 MSAs (66.6 percent) had more jobs than February 2020 – the month prior to the pandemic. Eight MSAs (2.1 percent) had the same number of jobs as February 2020 and 119 (31.3 percent) have fewer jobs when compared to the month prior to the pandemic.

The first table shows the 38 metros (top 10 percent of all MSAs) having the greatest percentage of job growth since February 2020. Notice the heavy inclusion of MSAs from Idaho, Utah, Florida, and Texas which make up almost two-thirds (65.8 percent) of the top 10%. Adding in North Carolina and three-out-of-every-four (73.7 percent) of the top 10 percent are among just five states.

The worst performing 38 MSAs from February 2020 to August 2023 are detailed in the next table. New York leads the bottom with 6 of the 38 weakest job performing MSAs (15.8 percent of the bottom 38), followed by Ohio (four) and Indiana, Louisiana and West Viginia with three each. These five states make up one-half (50 percent) of the weakest performing MSAs.

MSAs with the greatest number of jobs lost from February (Pre-COVID) to the trough in 2020 (month varies across the MSAs) and yet-to-be-recovered are listed in the next table. The Urban Honolulu MSA was still 24,200 jobs short in August 2023 compared to the number posted in February 2020.

The 38 MSAs with the largest gain in total employment numbers are detailed in the next table. Ten MSAs have now added more than 100,000 additional jobs since February 2020. Astounding are the 442,800 net new jobs in the Dallas-Ft Worth-Arlington MSA since February 2020, 2.5 times the 2nd best Austin-Round Rock-San Marcus MSA increase of 175,600.

The latest top- and bottom 10-percent of all MSAs for 1-month job growth are included in the next two tables. Three MSAs posted job major gains of at least 1 percent from July to August 2023. In comparison, in May 2023 eight MSAs had 1 percent or better gain in jobs in the latest month. On the job loss side, Yuma, Arizona lost 2.5 percent of all-jobs in the last month, almost double the 2nd largest declining Las Cruces, New Mexico (-1.3 percent).

Best and worst 10-year job gains and losses are detailed in the next two tables. Also included are 1-year and 5-year changes in the total number of jobs. Soaring above all in the past 10-years is The Villages in Florida, having increased 66.5 percent -- a 5.23 percent annual compound annual growth rate. The U.S.’s annual compound growth rate (CGR) in the same period was 1.36 percent – just 26 percent of the CGR of The Villages.

The 36 MSAs with a minimum 1 million jobs as of August 2023 are shown in the next table. Among these, 28 of the 36 MSAs (77.8 percent) with at least 1-million jobs increased total employment since February 2020.

Attached are two PDFs sorted by State and MSA. The first details jobs changes over 1-, 5- and 10-year intervals. The second looks at 1-month, 12-month and pre-pandemic to August 2023 jobs metrics.

It is all about jobs. Period.