Jobs Growth Linked to Population Density, Study Finds: Exclusive


A recent proptech data company study* of employment patterns in U.S. metropolitan areas found that the New York region had one of the weakest rebounds in jobs growth of the pandemic, with Sun Belt markets having the strongest recovery and entertainment/leisure hubs like Orlando and Las Vegas having significantly rebounded, too, a year after the pandemic hit.

The study, conducted by real estate investor data firm Markerr, follows job growth, a factor its clients find to be one of the critical drivers of commercial rent growth. In turn, job growth is a factor of employment growth, the latter of which measures new hires, whether they be work-from-home or in-office employees, said Markerr research analyst Galen Faurot-Pigeon.

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Through May 31, 2021: New York City had negative 10 percent job growth; Chicago, Miami, Los Angeles, San Jose and Seattle had negative 11 percent; and San Francisco was minus 13 percent. Memphis (8 percent), Phoenix (3 percent) and Nashville (1 percent) led job growth nationally.

The study, which covers Q1 2020 through May 31, 2021, indicates that stay-at-home orders, coupled with the ability to work from home, have hampered the economic recovery as measured by year-over-year employee counts of tech-centric markets like Seattle, San Jose and San Francisco.

“Anything high density performed worse during COVID and had a much deeper decline and slower recovery,” said Faurot-Pigeon of the markets surveyed. “I think that’s especially true for tech-centric markets, where work from home is more of an issue, because more people can work remotely and have continued to do so.”

COVID negatively impacted all markets, but Sun Belt markets had a shallower decline and a rapid return to normal in terms of employment growth due to more open economies. The study also found that dense California markets were negatively impacted by a more pronounced economic shutdown.

image 3 Jobs Growth Linked to Population Density, Study Finds: Exclusive

*The study is derived from Markerr’s income and employment data sets, which are based on payroll records for 8 million workers and 80,000 employers in the U.S. The company’s hiring data sets are aggregated from millions of public job postings across hundreds of job boards, covering every MSA (Metropolitan Statistical Areas), industry and job category. MSAs are delineated by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget as having at least one urbanized area with a minimum population of 50,000.

Philip Russo can be reached at