Two years ago, seaside resort Ocean City, N.J., which was devastated by Superstorm Sandy in 2012, was in the news as one of the nation’s fastest shrinking cities.
But Ocean City, known as a family-oriented vacation spot with no alcohol sales within its city limits, has seen a spurt of job growth since the pandemic — a 12% increase in jobs over a two-year period, according to AdvisorSmith, a business insurance research firm. The Jersey shore town, which like most places struggled with pandemic restrictions, has enjoyed a resurgence, likely due to big city residents relocating to less densely populated regions, the Wall Street Journal reports.
As we reported earlier this month, some cities had dramatic losses in jobs: Kahului, Hawaii, was down 25% in March this year, and hurricane-battered Lake Charles, La., along with Odessa, Texas, both lost about 20% of jobs between March 2019 and March 2021.
The U.S. economy added more-than-expected new jobs in June, with 850,000 new jobs created, lead by gains in leisure and hospitality. But many jobs lost in the pandemic may not come back, even with job openings at a record high, as many companies have turned to automation to save on labor costs.
To determine the cities that gained the most jobs in the past two years, AdvisorSmith examined employment data of 394 U.S. cities, from March 2019 through March 2021, from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, ranking the top 50 cities for job growth.
Several of these cities are in Utah and Idaho, which were already seeing heavy migration even before 2019: according to Idaho News, nearly 80,000 people moved to the state in 2018. Utah’s population grew 15.5% in 2020, making it one of the fastest-growing states in the nation. Affordability may be a factor; several of these cities are among the most affordable in the West.
Based on AdvisorSmith’s research, these are the cities that have gained the most jobs since 2019.