15 Cities With the Most Job Gains in 2021

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Since the short pandemic-induced recession of 2020, the job market has recovered quickly.

At the onset of the pandemic, the U.S. lost over 22 million jobs, but according to the most recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nonfarm employment is currently just 4.2 million lower than pre-pandemic levels. While monthly job gains have not been steady, employment in October of 2021 was 5.8 million (4.1%) higher than a year ago.

To find the metropolitan areas with the most job gains in 2021, researchers at Self Financial analyzed the latest employment data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The researchers ranked metro areas according to the percentage change in employment from October 2020 to October 2021. Researchers also included the total change in employment, total employment, and the unemployment rate.

To improve relevance, only metropolitan areas with at least 100,000 people were included in the analysis. Here are the U.S. metros with the most job gains in 2021.

15. Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach, FL

GagliardiImages / Shutterstock.com
  • Percentage change in employment (YoY): +4.7%
  • Total change in employment (YoY): +118,800
  • Total employment (October 2021): 2,641,000
  • Unemployment rate (October 2021): 4.0%

14. Raleigh-Cary, NC

Raleigh, North Carolina
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com
  • Percentage change in employment (YoY): +4.8%
  • Total change in employment (YoY): +30,000
  • Total employment (October 2021): 657,200
  • Unemployment rate (October 2021): 3.0%

13. Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Alpharetta, GA

Atlanta, Georgia, Piedmont Park skyline autumn
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com
  • Percentage change in employment (YoY): +4.8%
  • Total change in employment (YoY): +129,500
  • Total employment (October 2021): 2,823,800
  • Unemployment rate (October 2021): 2.4%

12. San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA

The skyline of San Jose, which has a lower median rent than median mortgage payment
stellamc / Shutterstock.com
  • Percentage change in employment (YoY): +4.9%
  • Total change in employment (YoY): +52,100
  • Total employment (October 2021): 1,114,400
  • Unemployment rate (October 2021): 3.8%

11. Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA

Portland, Oregon
photomatz / Shutterstock.com
  • Percentage change in employment (YoY): +5.0%
  • Total change in employment (YoY): +57,100
  • Total employment (October 2021): 1,192,900
  • Unemployment rate (October 2021): 3.4%

10. Salt Lake City, UT

Salt Lake City, Utah
f11photo / Shutterstock.com
  • Percentage change in employment (YoY): +5.2%
  • Total change in employment (YoY): +38,600
  • Total employment (October 2021): 780,300
  • Unemployment rate (October 2021): 1.4%

9. Rochester, NY

Rochester New York
TarnPisessith / Shutterstock.com
  • Percentage change in employment (YoY): +5.4%
  • Total change in employment (YoY): +26,400
  • Total employment (October 2021): 516,200
  • Unemployment rate (October 2021): 4.2%

8. Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL

Tampa, Florida
kevin-j-king / Shutterstock.com
  • Percentage change in employment (YoY): +5.4%
  • Total change in employment (YoY): +73,300
  • Total employment (October 2021): 1,419,200
  • Unemployment rate (October 2021): 3.8%

7. Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA

Songquan Deng / Shutterstock.com
  • Percentage change in employment (YoY): +5.4%
  • Total change in employment (YoY): +300,100
  • Total employment (October 2021): 5,884,100
  • Unemployment rate (October 2021): 7.1%

6. Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA-NH

Boston, Massachusetts
ESB Professional / Shutterstock.com
  • Percentage change in employment (YoY): +5.5%
  • Total change in employment (YoY): +140,500
  • Total employment (October 2021): 2,693,700
  • Unemployment rate (October 2021): 4.7%

5. Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA

Seattle
cdrin / Shutterstock.com
  • Percentage change in employment (YoY): +5.6%
  • Total change in employment (YoY): +109,400
  • Total employment (October 2021): 2,062,500
  • Unemployment rate (October 2021): 4.6%

4. Phoenix-Mesa-Chandler, AZ

Phoenix, Arizona
f11photo / Shutterstock.com
  • Percentage change in employment (YoY): +5.6%
  • Total change in employment (YoY): +118,700
  • Total employment (October 2021): 2,239,600
  • Unemployment rate (October 2021): 3.2%

3. Austin-Round Rock-Georgetown, TX

Austin, Texas
Roschetzky Photography / Shutterstock.com
  • Percentage change in employment (YoY): +6.7%
  • Total change in employment (YoY): +73,700
  • Total employment (October 2021): 1,169,400
  • Unemployment rate (October 2021): 3.4%

2. Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, FL

Orlando skyline
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com
  • Percentage change in employment (YoY): +6.7%
  • Total change in employment (YoY): +78,300
  • Total employment (October 2021): 1,253,800
  • Unemployment rate (October 2021): 4.4%

1. Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, NV

Las Vegas by night, with mountains
egd / Shutterstock.com
  • Percentage change in employment (YoY): +8.5%
  • Total change in employment (YoY): +76,700
  • Total employment (October 2021): 975,100
  • Unemployment rate (October 2021): 6.6%

Methodology

Man analyzing data on a laptop
fizkes / Shutterstock.com

To find the metropolitan areas with the most job gains and losses, researchers at Self Financial analyzed the latest employment data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’s Current Employment Statistics and Local Area Unemployment Statistics. The researchers ranked metro areas according to the percentage change in employment from October 2020 to October 2021. In the event of a tie, the metro with the higher employment for October 2021 was ranked higher. Researchers also calculated the total change in employment and the unemployment rate (October 2021).

To improve relevance, only metropolitan areas with at least 100,000 people were included in the analysis.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

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