Boise leading the nation in 'hot' job markets as hiring, even amid COVID surge, continues to grow

The Statehouse and skyline of Boise, Idaho, is seen in this March 27, 2020, photo. The Boise area leads the nation’s
list of "hot” job markets.

The Statehouse and skyline of Boise, Idaho, is seen in this March 27, 2020, photo. The Boise area leads the nation’s list of "hot” job markets. (Darin Oswald, Idaho Statesman via Associated Press)

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BOISE — The hottest city in the nation right now when it comes to explosive growth in new job listings may come as a surprise, but not to anyone who's been tracking how COVID-19 has impacted the geography of work.

A new report from job site found employment postings for the Boise, Idaho, metropolitan area earlier this month were nearly double the volume of Feb. 2020.

Inland western cities had an outsize presence near the top of Indeed's list of fastest-growing areas for job growth, with Spokane, Las Vegas, Phoenix and Austin, Texas, joining Boise among the top 10 locations. All five cities saw job listings grow by more than 80% when compared to Feb. 1, 2020, with Boise making a nearly 95% leap since that time.

The U.S. metros with slowest rate of growth in job listings include Honolulu, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., Syracuse, New York, and Lansing, Michigan, according to Indeed.

A record number of job seekers have migrated out of high-priced coastal cities and into the country's interior communities amid pandemic conditions that have led to a rise in remote working options. Geographically untethered workers are increasingly seeking new locales with a lower cost of living and amenities like easy access to outdoor recreation.

Indeed researchers noted that while the impact of the omicron surge will become clearer in the next few weeks, new job postings (those on Indeed for seven days or less) have not declined despite skyrocketing COVID-19 cases. And, as of Jan. 7, new postings on Indeed hit a series high and are 74.7% above pre-pandemic baseline.

Utah's high-powered, pre-pandemic economy and low unemployment likely played a role in keeping its cities out of the top current performers, but three Beehive State metros still found themselves in the top 50.

Out of the 110 metros tracked by Indeed, and as of Jan. 7 this year, job postings in Salt Lake City are 66.8% higher than they were on Feb. 1, 2020, and No. 40 in the U.S., with Ogden-Clearfield at No. 42 with 66.1% listings growth, and Provo-Orem landed at No. 43 with a 65% increase.

Utah as a whole is currently seeing 69.4% more job postings over pre-pandemic levels.

So what are the hottest jobs right now?

Indeed reports job postings in all occupational sectors are above pre-pandemic baselines, but especially so in human resources and software development. Child care job postings continue to be on par with the economy average but, to the detriment of many working parents, have edged down over the last four weeks, according to Indeed.

Despite the omicron variant derailing some holiday plans, job postings in hospitality and tourism have been on the rise. However, Indeed data reflects the recovery in hospitality and tourism job postings remains far below the economy average of 61.9%.

Last fall, Utah reported its two-year job growth rate was a nation-leading 3.4% and was one of only three states showing positive job change dating back to 2019. Last September also saw the state's unemployment rate fall to 2.4%, the first time the important data point dipped below its pre-pandemic benchmark of 2.5%.

Utah's unemployment rate has continued to fall with the latest data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, reported late last year, showing the state's 2.1% unemployment the second-lowest in the U.S., trailing only Nebraska's 1.8%.

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