Job seekers

Tech jobs and young job seekers are driving the fastest growing cities

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Tech jobs and rebounding tourism are fueling a reshuffling of U.S. population centers, says a October report by a nonpartisan think tank affiliated with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Driving the news: The American growth project by the Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise, a trade policy think tank, found that the 10 fastest growing U.S. cities are shifting the “center of gravity” of economic activity away from the East Coast, said Kenan executive director Gregory Brown at Axios. .

  • The San Francisco Bay Area, Austin, Seattle, Raleigh and Durham, Dallas, Denver, Salt Lake City, Charlotte, New Orleans and Orlando make up the top rankings.

Why is this important: These are America’s next boom towns — if local leaders find ways to capitalize on booming industries, Brown says.

  • These cities will need to invest in infrastructure, such as housing, as well as education and job training to fuel their growth potential, according to the report.

Methodology : The researchers constructed the list by weighing factors that included county-level employment rates and each city’s economic output.

The plot: Brown cites Austin No. 2 as an example of what could be on the horizon for the lowest-ranked cities.

  • In two years, the median home value there has gone from $349,156 to $566,479, according to the research.
  • “It will be a big change over the next few years for people who live [in the 10 cities] to see how you suddenly become a much bigger, more vibrant city,” Brown says.

Enlarge: A strong tech industry, buoyed by pandemic gains for companies like Zoom, has secured the top two spots for the San Francisco Bay Area and Austin — for now.

  • Hiring freezes and housing downtrends could be “worrying” for San Francisco and evidence that Austin’s labor boom may have peaked, the research suggests.

Yes, but: Younger residents contribute to stable growth prospects for cities like Seattle (#3) and Denver (#6).

  • The report notes that Seattle, home to Amazon and Microsoft, is a leader in clean energy, which researchers say attracts young job seekers.
  • Millennials are helping drive Denver’s economy, with researchers pointing to a separate study which found 71% of people who lived in Denver when they were 16 stayed or came back at 26 years old.
  • Meanwhile, a rebound in tourism and hospitality over the past year has helped propel Orlando and New Orleans into the top 10.

Go further: Dallas is growing very fast