ACR America at work Part 1

America at Work, Part 1: 5 Facts About Job Growth in Urban America

In our 4-part blog series, America at Work, we’re taking a look at workforce trends and perspectives across the United States.


Last month, The Brookings Institute released a report entitled, Where jobs are concentrating and why it matters to cities and regions. Today, we’re analyzing the report from the perspective of recruiters and job candidates across the country. Why? To find out how we can use job growth data to our advantage.


1. Job density is a factor.
Job density, or perceived job density, measures the concentration of jobs in a metro area, typically by jobs per square mile. Instead of measuring the average number of jobs in a city overall, job density measures the average number of jobs within the same vicinity of a city—typically within the same square mile. In other words, two cities can have the same number of jobs but different job densities.

Why does this matter? If you compare the job densities of the top 25 metro areas across America, you can narrow your search—whether it’s for a new job or a new job candidate. With a better understanding of exactly where the jobs are, both recruiters and job candidates can use this data to their advantage and find greater success.

Learn more about job density.


2. Metro areas saw a boost in job density from 2004 to 2015.
Are you looking for a new job? Consider moving to a city. Are you trying to hire more job candidates? Get to work for an urban employer. According to Brookings, job growth between 2004 and 2015 appears to “disproportionately favor already-dense parts of metro areas.” As the job density swells in urban America, recruiters and job seekers alike can seek solace in US cities.


3. Job density trends are driven largely by these four American cities.
New York City, Chicago, San Francisco, and Seattle are all responsible for the upward trend of job densities across America. Compared to all 94 large metro areas from 2004 to 2015, these four cities account for approximately 90% of the increase in job density. Interestingly, three of these cities are among the 15 most expensive cities in America. Nevertheless, they are urban centers for job growth; as such, they are worth checking out for job activity.


4. These job sectors experienced a change in job density.
If you’re in the market for IT, construction, or retail opportunities, you’ll probably have luck in most of America’s metro areas. Opportunities in education, manufacturing, and logistics, on the other hand, could be more difficult to close. Here’s how job densities are trending up and down across the nation.


Industry Job Density Increased

Industry Job Density Decreased






Real Estate

Arts & Entertainment









5. Notable cities trending up and down.
Where are you looking to close on a job opportunity or job candidate? Some cities may be friendlier than others in regard to job density.


Cities on the Rise

Cities on the Slide

Albany, NY

Charlotte, NC-SC

Oxnard, CA

San Francisco, CA

Urban Honolulu, HI

Cape Coral, FL

New Haven, CT

Rochester, NY

Scranton, PA

Sacramento, CA

Youngstown, OH-PA


Job recruiters, you can use this information to highlight the economic prosperity of the areas in which you are searching. Highlighting the economic and social benefits of living and working in a certain city, for example, could be the difference between closing a candidate or losing a lead.


For job seekers who may be on the move, do you really want to pick up and take off for a community rife with fiscal and environmental challenges? Didn’t think so. If job density can be used to identify opportune job situations—and we believe that it can—consider looking at job density trends in your desired area.


For more news, notes, and tips from Acara Solutions, visit our resources page. And don’t forget to check us out on TwitterLinkedInFacebook, and Instagram.