Some U.S. counties are performing better than others at attracting and retaining high-quality talent.

Economists have long documented the role of talent, or educated and skilled “human capital,” in driving urban growth. A wide range of studies have found that metros with large shares of college grads, such as San Francisco, Washington, D.C., Boston, and Seattle, have higher wages and incomes than others. Over the past decade or so, cities and mayors across the U.S. and the world have developed strategies to attract, retain, and harness talent.

Most previous research has focused on talent at the metro level, documenting the metros that lead and lag in talent attraction. But a recently released report from the economic modeling firm Emsi details talent attraction across U.S. counties.

In their newly released Talent Attraction Scorecard, Emsi rates and ranks more than 3,000 U.S. counties on a variety of measures—skilled job growth, overall job growth, annual job openings per capita, net migration, and regional competitiveness—for the period between 2011 and 2015. The study separates out 592 large U.S. counties (those with more than a 100,000 people) and 2,246 small U.S. counties (with 5,000 to 99,999 people).

 

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