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The Best and Worst Cities for Employment During COVID-19

4 min

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed every aspect of our lives from the way we shop to the way we work. But one of the most devastating effects of the pandemic, aside from the health impact, is the decline of the economy.

Unemployment rates have risen to incredibly high levels, and there have been major financial ramifications to businesses due to prolonged closures and reduced economic activity. But, is COVID’s effect on the economy more pronounced in some places than in others?

After thinking over this question, we were curious to see which cities held the most opportunity for employees during COVID-19. If you’re wondering how your city stacks up, check out our insights below!


Using Glassdoor as a source, our team conducted a data scrape of all job postings in the 50 most populated cities in the U.S. Once the data was compiled, we analyzed relevant data points, including CEO approval ratings, salaries, and the number of available jobs. Based on this data, we were able to compile our findings into a city-by-city analysis and compare the state of employment in cities throughout the U.S. during COVID-19.

Cities with the Fewest # of Jobs Available.
Cities with the fewest number of jobs available during COVID-19

With COVID-19 impacting the economy in unprecedented ways, the unemployment rate is at an all-time high. However, the unemployment impact of the pandemic is unevenly spread across the country. Large cities, such as New York City, Los Angeles, and Washington D.C., seem to be doing relatively well, but medium and small cities have felt the weight of the pandemic’s impact much more. 

El Paso, Texas has the lowest number of jobs available with just under 6,500. With approximately 700,000 people living there, there aren’t enough jobs left to employ even 1% of the population. Following closely are Wichita, KS, and Fresno, CA. Both cities have only enough open jobs to employ under 2% of their population. Overall, however, the top 10 cities with the fewest number of jobs available cannot employ more than 3% of their populations.

Cities with the highest number of jobs available during COVID-19

New York, Los Angeles, and Washington D.C. have the largest number of jobs available with over 86,000 each. 

However, we also took into consideration the population of the top 10 cities with the highest number of jobs. With the addition of the population data, Washington DC, Boston, and Seattle emerge as the cities with enough jobs for the greatest percentage of their people. These three cities have enough open jobs to employ approximately 18%, 10%, and 8% of their populations, respectively. 

If you are looking for a job, here are 2 key factors to look at: salary and your boss. Here’s how these cities stack up on those fronts.

Cities with the Highest Approval of CEO's.
Cities with the highest approved CEOs during COVID-19

Supportive and encouraging upper management is one of the top reasons people stay at a job and one of their main priorities when they look for a new one. Keeping that in mind, we looked for the cities that reported the highest rate of satisfaction with their CEOs. Boston, MA topped the list with over 93% of respondents saying they approved of their CEO. In fact, no city in the top 10 reports less than 86% approval of their CEOs. The top 10 list featured a mix of large and small cities from Los Angeles with a population of almost 4 million people, to Memphis, with just over 650,000. These findings prove that you can find supportive leaders wherever you go!

Cities with the Largest Top Salaries.
Cities with the largest top salaries

Salary is one of the key factors in attracting top talent, especially when you’re looking for executives to lead your company. The cities with the largest top salaries include a few surprises. While large cities, like New York, Boston, and Los Angeles, have a place on the list, the top 10 also includes many medium and small cities such as Phoenix, Jacksonville, and Baltimore. The list doesn’t include a top salary of less than $550,000. However, the cost of living varies greatly among these cities, with New York being the most expensive to Phoenix being the least (67.41% the cost of New York). 

The top 5 includes two cities, Baltimore and Jacksonville, which don’t rank in the top 20 most expensive cities but still pay the 3rd- and 4th-highest executive salaries, proving that you don’t always need to live in big cities to make it to the top (with the salary to match).

Want to know how your city stacks up? Check out the chart below!

The pandemic has changed everything and created a completely new existence for us. Cities are reeling from the pandemic’s impact as well, and finding a job has become more complicated. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t great opportunities out there!

In the meantime, check out our guide, How to Stay in Touch with Your Customers, to see how you can improve your online presence and reach more career-oriented people.

Oskar Markiewicz
Oskar Markiewicz
Oskar is a passionate Technical SEO Analyst in GetResponse, an expert in his field, prepared for any algorithm changes. His previous experience includes 4 years of being a SPAM fighter, with phishing as his main nemesis. Oskar's greatest hobby is climbing, but at work he rarely hits a wall.