The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating effect on the United States. Health authorities reported over 26.7 million cases as of Feb. 4, more than 450,000 of which have proven fatal. The American economy has suffered as well. In February 2020, the month before the pandemic resulted in a nationwide state of emergency, 158.7 million Americans held jobs. In November, that number fell to 149.8 million — a 5.6% decline.
Yet not every job market in the country suffered. Of the nearly 400 major metropolitan areas in the U.S., employment increased throughout the pandemic in 28.
To identify the American city adding the most jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics on the percent change in total employment from February 2020 to November 2020 in all U.S. metro areas.
The 28 metro areas we reviewed to pick the top city for job growth are concentrated in just 11 states, scattered across all parts of the country. One thing all of these places have in common is that their labor force grew significantly from February to November 2020. During those nine months, each metro area saw their labor force increase by hundreds if not thousands of workers.
As offices and other workplaces shut down over COVID-19 concerns, many companies let their employees work remotely. As the pandemic has stretched on, some employees have chosen to relocate from larger areas like New York City to smaller, less expensive cities.
From February to November 2020, construction was the only sector to add jobs, growing its total employment by 2.0%. The industry that shrank the least was the trade, transportation, and utilities sector, with employment declining just 0.3%. In more than 20 of the cities that added jobs during the pandemic, the trade, transportation, and utilities sector actually grew and frequently stood out as the sector added the most jobs. This sector includes retail trade, which encapsulates large e-commerce companies like Amazon, which — the online retail giant added hundreds of thousands of jobs to meet demand during the pandemic.
Fond du Lac, Wisconsin topped the list with an increase in employment of 3.1%. The total employment figure for the city as of February 2020 was 55,479. That contrasts to total employment during November 2020 of 57,188. The February 2020 unemployment rate was 3.0%. By November, the unemployment rate was 4.4%. The city’s fastest-growing industry is what the federal government labels “Trade, Transportation, and Utilities” which moved higher by 8.1% over the period measured. The labor force increase during the February to November 2020 timeframe was 2,620, up 4.6%.