- Brookings used BLS employment projections to see how growth in metro areas may change after the pandemic.
- The report finds some tech metro areas and university towns may not see that big of a difference.
- Tourism-heavy metro areas like Atlantic City, New Jersey may see the biggest differences.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
A new metro area and state analysis from Brookings finds employment in all metro areas will be affected by the long-term outcomes of the pandemic, but places that rely on tourism could be hit especially hard.
Mark Muro, senior fellow and policy director of the Metropolitan Policy Program at Brookings, and research assistant Yang You published a new report about how employment may change across the US based on recent 2019-2029 projections calculated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The new projections analyze how employment may in various industries and occupations could grow or shrink over the decade given long-term changes in behavior from the pandemic, such as people continuing to avoid large crowds and more telework.
“While we’re all expecting and hoping for a very robust, near-term recovery from the [COVID-19] crisis, we shouldn’t forget this longer-term potential aftereffect that in some places could really, be painful,” Muro told Insider.
The Brookings report shows that across US metro areas, employment is expected to be lower in 2029 than it would have been without the pandemic, but some metro areas have larger differences.
“Places that are heavily specialized in accommodations or food services, or arts and entertainment, or retail will themselves feel some slowing from the baseline,” Muro said based on BLS‘ expectations of what employment will look like by industry in the long term.
“Those economies are very cyclical anyway, and they may be subjected now to an additional, fairly substantial drag, according to the BLS numbers,” Muro told Insider.
The following chart highlights the five metro areas where difference in employment growth between the baseline and strong impact scenario are the largest:
Many of the places that may see the largest changes to employment are tourism and vacation destinations. This includes places like Myrtle Beach, South Carolina; Atlantic City, New Jersey; and Las Vegas. The chart shows Kahului, Hawaii, and Atlantic City, New Jersey, have the largest percent differences among the metro areas at -3.6%.
On the other hand, Brookings notes the places with the lowest percent differences are a mix of metro areas that are big in tech and manufacturing as well as “university towns strong in science and IT,” such as Ann Arbor, Michigan.
The following chart highlights the five metro areas where differences in employment growth between the baseline and strong impact scenario are the smallest:
The chart shows Trenton, New Jersey, has the smallest percent difference among the metro areas at -1.1%, where projected 2029 employment in the strong impact scenario is around 3,200 lower than the baseline scenario of around 291,000. Among the 384 metro areas, 298 of them have percent differences below 2.0%.
It is important to note the BLS projections are just estimates and could differ from what actually pans out between 2019 and 2029. Muro said government responses and changes by policy makers can help places that may see the largest percent differences.
“There may be particularly successful policy interventions that help these places with these sorts of industries and workers,” Muro said. “So all of those things could happen, and that could change the picture. What further government response there is might make a difference.”