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The tightest local labor markets

New insights from the Research Division

The FRED Blog recently used research from the St. Louis Fed to discuss how pandemic-related immigration restrictions affected the number of job vacancies per unemployed person—a.k.a., labor market tightness.

Today, we revisit this topic by highlighting research pinpointing the urban centers with the tightest labor markets.

The FRED graph above shows data from Indeed.com, an aggregator of online job listings. Indeed reports job posting activity as a 7-day trailing average, presented as an index with a value of 100 on February 1, 2020. Job postings are highly correlated with job vacancies, and the FRED graph shows persistently elevated levels of job postings (as of May 2023) in three metropolitan statistical areas: Jackson, Mississippi; Omaha-Council Bluffs, Nebraska-Iowa; and Madison, Wisconsin.

Recent research from Cassie Marks, Lowell R. Ricketts, William M. Rodgers III, and Hannah Rubinton at the St. Louis Fed explores tightening in local labor markets during the recovery from the COVID-19-induced recession. Their work specifically identifies the cities of Jackson, Mississippi; Omaha, Nebraska; and Madison, Wisconsin, as the urban centers with the tightest labor markets as of May 2023.

For more about this and other research, visit the website of the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, which offers an array of economic analysis and expertise provided by our staff.

How this graph wase created: Search FRED for and select “Job Postings on Indeed in Jackson, MS (MSA).” From the “Edit Graph” panel, use the “Add Line” tab to search for and add “Job Postings on Indeed in Omaha-Council Bluffs, NE-IA (MSA).” Repeat the last step to add “Job Postings on Indeed in Madison, WI (MSA)” to the graph.

Suggested by Diego Mendez-Carbajo.

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