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Sunbelt cities top the list of booming U.S. job markets

Samantha Fields Apr 3, 2023
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Nashville topped the list for 2022's hottest job market among major metropolitan areas. Donald Miralle/Getty Images for Rock 'n' Roll Marathon

Sunbelt cities top the list of booming U.S. job markets

Samantha Fields Apr 3, 2023
Heard on:
Nashville topped the list for 2022's hottest job market among major metropolitan areas. Donald Miralle/Getty Images for Rock 'n' Roll Marathon
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This is a big week for jobs data. On Tuesday, JOLTS — the job openings and labor turnover survey — will tell us how many positions employers are trying to hire for and how many people quit jobs recently. Then on Friday, we’ll get the unemployment rate for March. 

But today, we’re looking at which cities have particularly hot labor markets right now. A new analysis from the Wall Street Journal and Moody’s Analytics finds that, for larger metropolitan areas, Nashville and Austin top the list. 

All politics is local, so the saying goes. Well, the same is true of job markets. And, in 2022, “the big picture story is just how persistent the strength of the Sunbelt, in particular, has been,” said Adam Kamins at Moody’s Analytics.

That trend started before the pandemic, he noted. “And by most measures, those have remained the strongest performing economies in the U.S.”

Of the 10 hottest city job markets — as ranked by Moody’s and the Journal — nine were in the South, in Tennessee, Texas, Florida, Georgia and North Carolina.

The rise of remote work has been a big factor, said Glassdoor’s Daniel Zhao.

“As people have been able to move to some of these areas, the increased spending that they are bringing into the local economy means that those local employers, like retailers or restaurants, need to actually hire new workers in order to meet that demand,” he said.

In a bunch of the cities with hot job markets, much of the hiring has been happening in restaurants, hospitality and tourism. “Industries that don’t necessarily rank very high on employee satisfaction or wages,” Zhao pointed out.

That’s one reason we should always take these kinds of lists with a grain of salt, said Kathryn Anne Edwards at the RAND Corporation.

“These markets being good or bad, in general, don’t make them good or bad for you, in particular,” she said. “If Nashville is the hottest labor market, you know, that’s great.”

But, Edwards added, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s hot in your field.  

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