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America’s 10 priciest markets are lacking these jobs

Melody Hahm
Senior Writer

The median home price in America is $240,000, which is up 9.1% from a year ago. The appreciation has priced individuals out of the country’s most expensive markets. And that means certain jobs get priced out too, according to new research from job search engine Indeed.

Construction, landscaping, freight and logistics, and customer service are industries that aren’t represented in expensive metros. Therefore, the top jobs glaringly missing in the most expensive metros are trailer mechanic, floor technician and concrete finisher.

Indeed Chief Economist Jed Kolko examined all jobs listed on its site last year in the 51 U.S. metros with at least 1 million people. He then compared the 10 priciest metros (using Bureau of Economic Analysis Regional Price Parity data) to the other 41 in order to find the industries and professions that are missing in the expensive markets.

The coastal elites

Unsurprisingly, the 10 most expensive metros are all along the East and West Coasts. They include Baltimore, Boston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, Seattle and Washington, D.C. Kolko excluded jobs like intelligence analysts that are concentrated in a single market (D.C.).

Expensive metros are flush with jobs in tech, science and specialized industries. Behavioral therapists are 12 times more likely to be found in expensive metros than other large markets. Kolko notes that creative jobs (like artists and creative directors) and certain high-end service professions (like fitness managers, pastry cooks and dog walkers) are also highly concentrated in expensive areas.

“Coastal places tend to be in high demand because of productivity advantages and quality of life. They also have tighter housing supply because they can’t spread out in all directions. The coastal location of expensive metros makes them poorly suited for transportation and logistics businesses that benefit more from being closer to the geographic center of a national network than being at the edge. That could help explain why many trucking and freight jobs are missing from expensive metros — in addition to the fact they require lots of land,” said Kolko.

Professions like construction, landscaping and freight and services are harder to find in America’s priciest metros.

Employers most likely won’t set up call centers in costly Boston or Los Angeles. Jobs that are location agnostic are clustered in cheaper markets, according to Kolko. In fact, these jobs could happen anywhere in the world, and customer service representatives continue to be outsourced and displaced by automation.

Dog walkers are high in demand in expensive markets like NYC, but aren’t represented across America.

Because land is so much more valuable in expensive markets, it is also used more intensively, which means “fewer single-family houses and lawns, less commuting by car, and more transit, biking, and walking.” Therefore, there is less need for lawn technicians and groundskeepers.

The stark contrast in job opportunities in metro markets illuminates the demographic differences across the country. The Indeed report noted that pricier metros have a higher population of young adults, which could explain the demand for high-end services like fitness managers.

Melody Hahm is a senior writer at Yahoo Finance, covering entrepreneurship, technology and real estate. Follow her on Twitter @melodyhahm.

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