Salt Lake City Head of the US Labor Market Category Since someone is often invited to give presentations on economics, or as a salesperson who would like to be well-informed when speaking with a client, it’s always a good idea to know the best intercity job markets. This article is a useful reference piece. For the 51 largest metro statistic areas (by population) in the United States and 35 metropolitan areas (CMAs) in Canada, they ranked them in two ways: (1) by year-on-year job creation performance (or rather, as the pandemic spreads, from During the job retention performance, the lowest drop is impressive); And (2) unemployment rates, from lowest (best) to highest (worst). The rankings for the 33 best cities in the United States are shown in Table 1, which takes advantage of the most recent data available from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), for December 2020. The full version of Table 1 for all 51 cities in America with a population shows more than Million on the website version of this article. This is where you’ll see job market weakness in Detroit, Las Vegas, and New Orleans. Table 1: Best U.S. Urban Job Markets Based on Non-Seasonally Adjusted (NSA) Data. / Cities are metropolitan statistical regions (MSAs), and when the ranking numbers are the same, the cities are at par. Data source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Table: ConstructConnect. Chart 1 shows unemployment rates in the 12 most populous cities in America. Atlanta is the lowest. But even being the best of the dozens of America’s most populous cities, it doesn’t save Atlanta from being ranked seventeenth out of all of America’s 51 major cities. America’s largest urban areas are being hit hard by coronavirus-related lockdowns. Note that Washington, DC has the second lowest unemployment rate in Chart 1. Chart 1: Unemployment rates in the United States 12 most populous cities December 2020 – ranked from # 1 lowest (best) to # 12 highest (worst) Data source: Office Labor Statistics (BLS) Charts: ConstructConnect. Kelowna, British Columbia, wins award in Canada Table 2 identifies job markets in Canadian cities in January 2021. Canada is claiming six cities with a population of over one million each. As in the United States, those six cities – Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Ottawa Gatineau, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver – generally appear at the bottom of the ranking in terms of unemployment. Ottawa, the nation’s capital and “city government,” is the only exception. It is in the top 10 with the lowest unemployment rates (i.e. the best). It’s nice to see Kelowna, British Columbia’s lovely resort town on Lake Okanagan, which is in a milder belt than most of Canada, and is doing well on job market rankings in 35 cities. Table 2: Labor markets in 33 Canadian cities based on recent three-month averages, Seasonally Adjusted (SA) data. Cities are Census-Urban Areas (CMAs). When the ranking numbers are the same, the cities are tied. Data source: Statistics Canada. Table: ConstructConnect. Graph 2: Unemployment rates in Canada’s six most populous cities Latest data for January 2021. Data source: Statistics Canada (SA = seasonally adjusted). Charts: ConstructConnect. The bottom line, Washington and Ottawa are safer bets. In short, the top two “really big” cities in the United States with low unemployment rates are Atlanta and Washington, DC. In Canada, Ottawa Gatineau and Vancouver are in the lead. Interestingly, and really shouldn’t come as a surprise, the national capitals of both countries offer the safest havens during the COVID-19 infection storm.