The US Job Market Is Moving From Coast to Country

By: Anneken Tappe · May 03, 2024 · Reading Time: 3 minutes

Coastal Retreat

U.S. coasts have historically been the place to be when it came to certain career paths. Cities like San Francisco, New York, and Los Angeles were hubs for the tech and financial sectors, for example. The pandemic reshuffled these dynamics a little bit, and in our post-pandemic world, the escalating cost of living on the coasts is driving Americans inward.

Migration Momentum

For the first time since the Great Recession, the majority of new jobs are posted outside of these major coastal cities, according to the Economic Innovation Group . Notable job gains were registered in places like Ocean City, New Jersey (10.9%), Gainesville, Georgia (5.3%), and Charleston, South Carolina (4.7%) between December 2022 and 2023.

Cities in the Sunbelt, as the Southwest of the nation is sometimes called, as well as the Midwest, where the cost of living is lower and average earnings are lower as a result, are seeing the fastest job growth. Employers are even getting in on the trend, moving to these more affordable markets to chase talent — and reduce their own costs through lower taxes and cheaper office buildings.

This trend has been bubbling beneath the surface for some time, as the pandemic brought on a notable slowdown in tech hiring and an initial exodus from urban areas. Consequently, big cities with ties to the sector struggled, while smaller metros began to experience consistent hiring growth.

Remote work likely continues to play a role in many Americans’ willingness to relocate. With the majority of workers prefer hybrid and in-person work arrangements, hiring in small and medium-sized cities continues to outpace major metro areas. This broad relocation could distribute businesses and job opportunities more evenly throughout the country.

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