Introducing the Industry Job Tracker
We created the Tracker to help economic developers and policy makers keep an eye on employment change in the nation’s metropolitan areas.
Employment data is only useful when it’s accessible to those who need it most. The Tracker makes it easier to monitor the impact of COVID-19 and relief programs on employment levels across hundreds of cities and 12 industry sectors. The free online tool draws on the latest data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and is updated monthly by Localintel.
How economic developers are using the Tracker
Kaycee Kemper, Vice President at the Adams Economic Alliance in Gettysburg PA, has been using the Industry Job Tracker to monitor the recovery of her local economy. “We’re a major tourism destination and our leisure and hospitality businesses have been hit hard. Localintel’s Tracker showed that we lost 44% of leisure and hospitality jobs in April, but thankfully saw a 28% increase in May,” Ms Kemper said.
“According to the Tracker, this improvement was well above average when compared to other locations with a high concentration of leisure and hospitality jobs. However, the recovery is only just beginning so we will be keeping a close eye on Localintel’s Tracker to monitor employment change as various COVID-19 relief programs wind down.” Ms Kemper continued.
Daniel Kennedy at the City of Cleveland’s Department of Economic Development has been using Localintel’s Industry Job Tracker to compare the city’s recovery with other locations. Mr Kennedy said, “It was reassuring to see job growth for Cleveland’s professional and business services in May was similar to Detroit and better than Cincinnati, Columbus, Pittsburgh and Milwaukee.”
He went on to say, “The Tracker also shows Cleveland’s economic recovery in May has not been evenly distributed with job growth in the city’s retail sector lagging behind most other large Midwest metro areas.”
How to use the Tracker
The Industry Job Tracker can help you answer a range of questions about industry employment levels in a metro area. All the examples provided here are based on the BLS data for May 2020.
Which industry sectors in my metro area experienced job gains and which suffered job losses?
Use the drop-down menu to select the industry you are interested in. Circles on the map are sized by the percentage change in jobs for the selected industry. The bigger the circle, the greater the amount of change. Metro areas with a negative change in jobs are shaded in red and areas with positive change are shaded in green. For example, when zooming into North Carolina on the map, we can see that Greensboro-High Point metro area has a green circle for the manufacturing sector and a red circle for government. This means Greensboro-High Point experienced an increase manufacturing jobs from April to May 2020 and a loss of government jobs.
How much have industry employment levels changed?
By clicking on the circle, a pop-up box will appear showing the percentage change in unemployment for the selected industry. For example, Greensboro-High Point, North Carolina saw a 11.3% increase in manufacturing jobs between April and May 2020 and a 5.6% decline in government jobs.
How many people are employed by the industry sector in my metro?
The pop-up box also shows the total number of jobs provided by the industry sector. In May 2020, the Greensboro-High Point economy contained 41,500 manufacturing jobs and 40,200 government jobs.
How concentrated is an industry in my metro area?
The employment location quotient (LQ) of the selected industry for a metro area is included in the pop-up box. Location quotient is a way of quantifying how concentrated a particular industry is in a metro area compared to the national average. Importantly, it can help uncover what makes a location unique. Places with high employment specialization or concentration in an industry have an employment LQ of greater than 1. The higher the LQ, the greater the concentration. Places with low employment concentration in an industry have an employment LQ of less than 1. For example, Greensboro-High Point metro area had a manufacturing employment LQ of 1.4 in May 2020 indicating that it has a higher than average concentration of manufacturing jobs (i.e. manufacturing is a specialization of the Greensboro-High Point metro area). In contrast the LQ for government jobs in Greensboro-High Point is 0.82 which means the concentration of government sector jobs is well below the national average.
How does an industry’s employment in my metro compare to other locations with a similar concentration jobs in the same industry?
Apply the filters on the Tracker to see which metro areas have an employment concentration that is higher, equal to or lower than the national average for the selected industry. For example, by selecting “Higher concentration” the map displays those metro areas that have a specialization in the selected industry. In May 2020 the Greensboro-High Point’s manufacturing sector experienced stronger job growth than the manufacturing hotpots of Winston-Salem NC, Greenville SC and Spartanburg SC.
About the data
Localintel’s Industry Job Tracker presents data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Current Employment Statistics survey (establishment survey). The establishment survey provides information on employment, hours, and earnings of employees on nonfarm payrolls. BLS collects this data each month from a sample of over 390,000 establishments employing over 47 million nonfarm wage and salary workers, full or part time, who receive pay during the payroll period which includes the 12th of the month. According to the BLS, statistics based on the establishment survey are subject to both sampling and non-sampling error. BLS analyses are generally conducted at the 90-percent level of confidence. The BLS does not seasonally adjust the industry specific employment data for metro areas. Localintel updates the Industry Job Tracker each month with the latest BLS establishment survey data for metro areas. The Tracker identifies the period to which the data applies and when the last update occurred.
More information about the Current Employment Statistics program can be found at www.bls.gov/ces/. Definitions for Metropolitan Areas and how the BLS measures geographic areas can be accessed at https://www.bls.gov/opub/hom/topic/geographic-area-definitions.htm.