Top National Workforce Trends for Distribution Centers in 2022

by Josh Bays, on Feb 15, 2022 2:19:54 PM

To help our clients be certain that they can meet their hiring needs, Site Selection Group, a full-service location advisory and economic incentives firm, evaluates and monitors talent trends in the distribution sector. This information is useful, whether a company is hiring 200 or 2,000 workers. Assessing a community’s pool of available distribution workers is more critical than ever given how tight the labor market is around the country.

We evaluate trends like this frequently since the market is incredibly dynamic, particularly in the distribution sector.

Distribution workforce growth distributed throughout the country

Looking forward to the next five years, the data suggest geographic diversity in distribution occupational growth, with several metros in the West seeing high growth, as well as metros in the Southeast. Of note, several Texas markets are expected to experience tremendous growth. As companies expand their operations to the West, they need additional points for an efficient distribution network.

Top 20 metro areas for distribution talent growth 2020-2025

Metro Area 2020-2025 Projected Occupation Growth
Austin-Round Rock-Georgetown, TX 15.80%
Stockton, CA 14.50%
Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA 12.40%
Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO 11.90%
Phoenix-Mesa-Chandler, AZ 10.70%
Jacksonville, FL 10.60%
Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, NV 10.30%
Nashville-Davidson-Murfreesboro-Franklin, TN 10.10%
Salt Lake City, UT 10.00%
Raleigh-Cary, NC 9.60%
Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia, NC-SC 9.20%
Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX 9.00%
San Antonio-New Braunfels, TX 7.40%
Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL 7.30%
Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, FL 6.90%
Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Alpharetta, GA 6.90%
Hartford-East Hartford-Middletown, CT 6.70%
Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, MD 6.40%
Columbus, OH 6.00%
Sacramento-Roseville-Folsom, CA 5.70%

Overall increase in job posting activity

Job postings data reveal insights into demand for labor within material moving occupations. Site Selection Group utilizes online job postings data via EMSI and CareerBuilder to evaluate labor demand conditions within the sector. Job postings data provides some of the most up-to-date data available. This is vitally important in today’s ever-changing climate. The table below shows the top 20 markets with the greatest change in demand for distribution workers over the past year. This trend of strong growth in this sector across markets has been consistent over the past couple of years.

Top 20 metro areas with highest growth in material moving occupation demand

Metro Area Avg. Monthly Postings (Jan 2020- Dec 2020) Avg. Monthly Postings (Jan 2021- Dec 2021) One Year Change
Phoenix-Mesa-Chandler, AZ 364 605 66.42%
Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach, FL 220 363 65.02%
Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, FL 120 189 57.94%
Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL 153 237 54.23%
Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA 385 589 52.82%
Jacksonville, FL 107 164 52.32%
Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Alpharetta, GA 418 606 44.85%
San Diego-Chula Vista-Carlsbad, CA 141 195 38.62%
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA 601 825 37.23%
Memphis, TN-MS-AR 166 225 35.55%
Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, NV 103 138 34.07%
Nashville-Davidson-Murfreesboro-Franklin, TN 202 265 31.18%
Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA-NH 397 520 31.09%
Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX 617 791 28.14%
Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX 254 325 27.72%
Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA 397 505 27.07%
Austin-Round Rock-Georgetown, TX 128 162 27.06%
San Antonio-New Braunfels, TX 122 150 22.36%
Kansas City, MO-KS 214 261 21.79%
Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia, NC-SC 231 278 20.55%


West and Southeast experiencing higher posting intensity

Posting intensity, that is, the average number of times the same job will appear on different job boards, is another way to measure demand for labor. In short, if companies place their job postings on, for example, 10 boards instead of five, it indicates they are working harder to find talent – one sign of a tightening labor market. The table below shows the top 20 markets for change in posting intensity this past year compared to the year before. These markets closely resemble the same markets in high-growth distribution areas shown previously (e.g. Phoenix, Atlanta) as increased demand leads to elevated hiring pressure for future employers. On the other hand, some other markets are beginning to see a slight decrease in hiring pressures since the year before (St. Louis, Seattle).

Top 20 most competitive metro areas for distribution jobs

Metro Area Avg. Posting Intensity (Jan 2020- Dec 2020) Avg. Posting Intensity (Jan 2021- Dec 2021) One Year Change
Phoenix-Mesa-Chandler, AZ 7.23 10.35 43.15%
Nashville-Davidson-Murfreesboro-Franklin, TN 3.83 5.04 31.64%
Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach, FL 3.94 4.9 24.24%
Memphis, TN-MS-AR 4.64 5.66 21.95%
Richmond, VA 3.39 4.1 20.79%
Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL 3.53 4.25 20.40%
Pittsburgh, PA 3.37 3.96 17.54%
Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA-NC 5.31 6.18 16.27%
Milwaukee-Waukesha, WI 4.07 4.69 15.26%
Jacksonville, FL 4.22 4.85 14.95%
Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, FL 3.17 3.52 10.98%
Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, NV 6.06 6.68 10.24%
San Diego-Chula Vista-Carlsbad, CA 5.06 5.58 10.24%
Kansas City, MO-KS 4.52 4.95 9.51%
Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Alpharetta, GA 2.99 3.26 9.00%
Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI 3.98 4.3 8.13%
Salt Lake City, UT 3.9 4 2.44%
Stockton, CA 6.34 6.41 1.09%
St. Louis, MO-IL 3.64 3.63 -0.38%
Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA 5.93 5.86 -1.16%


Diverse analyses optimize location decision

While the information above provides useful insight into real-time labor market conditions, it is only one part of establishing a balanced and substantive assessment of a market. Site Selection Group works with its clients to develop a balanced analysis utilizing data from many diverse sources to identify the optimal labor market for distribution centers from a macro perspective to avoid the risk of locating in a sub-optimal market.

Sources: EMSI/CareerBuilder. Average monthly postings and average posting intensity (i.e. total online postings of one particular job) for Material Moving Occupations. List filtered to include only those metro areas with at least 100 average job postings in the time frames analyzed to prevent small market outliers.

Topics:Distribution CentersEconomic IncentivesSite SelectionLocation Advisory



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