Even as the economy improves, the unemployment rate continues to grow higher and job creation remains a central issue. Not only does unemployment vary widely across cities and regions, certain places have been able to generate many more new jobs than others.
A couple days ago, I posted a chart which compares the ratio of unemployed workers to job openings for America's 50 largest metro areas. It's a pretty good metric of the resilience of job markets in the face of our ongoing employment crisis. The most resilient metros on this score, Greater D.C. and Baltimore, generate about one new job opening for every unemployed person. The least resilient have much higher numbers of unemployed workers for every new opening. In Detroit, the ratio is 18 unemployed workers for each job opening, in Miami its 12 to 1, Las Vegas 8 to 1.
The question becomes: Does this just reflect random, idiosyncratic differences among metros, or might there be more systematic, identifiable factors that distinguish places with more resilient job markets from less resilient ones? To get a handle on this, Charlotta Mellander and I looked at whether and what regional economic factors might affect the ratio of unemployed workers to job openings. (As usual, I point out that our analysis identifies correlation or association between variables and does not in any way imply causality.)