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The 10 best (and 10 worst) cities for pandemic recovery potential

Aug. 06, 2020

As the coronavirus continues to affect nearly every city in the U.S., many are struggling to envision what the road to recovery may look like.

Moody’s methodology for determining the ranking involved plotting cities’ population density against shares of jobs that require degrees in order to assess economic standing. The economic research firm also looked at core-based statistical areas (CBSAs) and educational attainment to calculate regional exposure to the virus.

One interesting trend that emerged from the report is an increase in standing for several cities not traditionally considered “model cities.” This illustrates the looming potential for a large-scale migration away from the country’s biggest and densest metropolitan hubs toward more spacious, up-and-coming cities. “The most dynamic recoveries may well bypass traditional powerhouses and take place instead in areas that either were or were poised to lead the way in 2020 before everything changed,” said Adam Kamins, senior regional economist at Moody’s Analytics and the report’s author.

City Skyline
Best cities for recovery July 2020

To shed additional light on Moody’s analysis, LinkUp examined our job data in the top 10 cities. Averaging the change in unique active job listings since June 1, it’s notable that the top 10 cities for recovery only saw a 4% increase in jobs. Looking at the data from July 1st on, we see a 0% increase on average. So while we are seeing some rebound in jobs numbers in these cities, we aren’t yet seeing a consistent upward trajectory.

Population density also plays a role in McAllen, Texas and Stockton, California. In addition to lack of space, these areas grapple with poverty and low degrees of educational attainment.

Looking at New York City in particular, there is a large, skilled workforce; however it still holds the designation of the country’s single-most economically exposed area. Activities intrinsic to city life for residents or tourists (and vital to the city’s economy) like riding the subway, dining in crowded restaurants, and attending Broadway shows or museums carry with them a high level of risk. Honolulu is another city whose recovery chances are significantly hampered by a loss of tourism.

Looking at LinkUp job data, we see that since June 1, the 10 worst cities for recovery saw a 5% increase, 1% higher than the top 10 cities. Starting on July 1st, we observe a 2% increase on average.

Worst cities for recovery July 2020

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