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Commentary: Top Metros Provide Educated Workforces and High Quality of Place

This scorecard clearly shows that the landscape of workforce trends across the United States is intricate, diverse, and highly localized.

Q4 2023
While the results of the analysis inform on potential labor force advantages across the various markets, delving deeper into the unique, localized strengths (and weaknesses) of a market is important in determining the viability of the labor force for a company.

At a high level, all locations are dealing with a similar subset of issues that will ultimately influence their ability to attract, retain, and develop the needed talent to support employers. Demographic trends show a significant portion of the workforce “aging out” faster than it is “aging in.” A full 90 percent of baby-boomers are expected to leave the workforce by 2030. Considering the declining birth rate, increasing mortality rate, and a historically declining labor force participation rate, the replacement of the workforce will require significant advances in technology, an altered approach to immigration, and a focus on “family-friendly” policies that unlock workforce participation. These facts underscore the importance of policies that invest in human capital, education, and regional infrastructure to foster the growth and development of labor markets locally and nationally.

If we shift focus to the often-overlooked locations among the rankings — the smaller/medium cities — we see that these markets may bear distinctive strengths and untapped potential that make them promising hubs for a variety of industries. For example, Reno, Nevada (overall rank #41, prime workforce rank #26, medium-sized metro rank #14) is a great case study of a market that has garnered a significant amount of investment from technology, manufacturing, and logistics companies in the past couple years, including Tesla ($3.6B, 3,000 jobs) and Redwood Materials ($3.5B, 700+ jobs). These smaller and medium-sized markets, while not as prominent as major urban centers, exhibit unique strengths and growth potential, making them attractive destinations for companies looking to harness the power of a skilled workforce and emerging economic opportunities.

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