Emsi releases its 4th Annual Talent Attraction Scorecard

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Jacksonville, Florida, and Lake Charles, Louisiana, Lead Emsi’s 4th Annual Talent Attraction Scorecard

Emsi, the industry leader in labor market insights, unveiled its 4th annual national Talent Attraction Scorecard today (click here for the full report), ranking the top small and large U.S. counties on how well they attract and retain skilled workers. Duval County, FL, (Jacksonville) knocked Maricopa County, AZ (Phoenix) out of first place on Emsi’s annual Talent Attraction Scorecard, while rural counties punched above their weight.

The rankings were dominated by Sunbelt states, with over half the top ten winners in each category in a Sunbelt state. The West also made a strong showing, with Storey, NV, having the highest overall index score, and Denver, Boise, and Salt Lake City all appearing in the top 50 large counties.

Jackson, WV, and Holmes, OH, both made tremendous climbs in the rankings jumping well over 1000 places to finish in the top ten for small counties. The northeast continues to fare less well than other regions, with only two counties--Hillsborough, NH, and Richmond, NY--appearing in the top 50 large counties,

In addition to the county rankings, the scorecard expands on a six-phase talent pipeline for short- and long-term workforce strategies that communities can implement to attract and develop talent.

“Helping local leaders implement proven strategies for talent and economic development is the purpose of the Talent Attraction Scorecard, and of Emsi’s Community Insights team more generally,” said Andrew Crapuchettes, Emsi CEO. “We want to see thriving communities, full of great people and prosperous businesses. It’s a privilege to be a part of helping to build those communities.”

"As the labor market continues to tighten, talent attraction has become one of the most important issues facing businesses and economic developers,” said Joshua Wright, Vice President of Economic and Workforce Development at Emsi. “The Talent Attraction Scorecard gives communities a benchmark for where their region ranks in drawing skilled workers and provides tangible strategies they can use to attract the new residents they need to grow their economies."

The Big Leaders (population over 100k):

1) Duval County, FL (Jacksonville)
2) Maricopa County, AZ (Phoenix)
3) Clark County, NV (Las Vegas)
4) Collin County, TX (Dallas-Fort Worth)
5) Riverside County, CA (Riverside)
6) King County, WA (Seattle)
7) Fulton County, GA (Atlanta)
8) Berkeley County, SC (Charleston)
9) Wake County, NC (Raleigh)
10) Denton County, TX (Denton)

The Small Leaders (population 5k to 100k):

1) Cameron Parish, LA (Lake Charles)
2) Twiggs County, GA (Macon)
3) Burke County, GA (Waynesboro)
4) Johnston County, OK (Tishomingo)
5) Reeves County, TX (Pecos)
6) Jackson County, WV (Ravenswood)
7) Moore County, TN (Tullahoma)
8) Martin County, TX (Stanton)
9) Hartley County, TX (Channing)
10) Holmes County, OH (Millersbug)

The Standout Micro-counties (population under 5k):

  • Storey County, NV
  • Butte County, ID
  • Loving County, TX
  • Petroleum County, MT
  • Alpine County, CA
  • Eureka County, NV
  • Liberty County, MT
  • Chase County, KS
  • MacPherson County, NE
  • Glasscock County, TX


Counties are ranked using Emsi’s Talent Attraction Index based on six, equally weighted metrics: job growth, skilled job growth, net migration, annual openings for skilled workers per capita, educational attainment growth (associate degree and above), and regional competitiveness. Emsi, an affiliate of Strada Education Network, provides high-quality labor market data and expert analysis to professionals in economic development, workforce development, commercial real estate, higher education, and talent acquisition. Emsi uses sound economic principles and good data to drive economic prosperity.


Clare Coffey
Data Journalist | Emsi
208-997-8503 | [clare.coffey(at)economicmodeling.com]

About Emsi:
Founded in 2001, Emsi is a labor market analytics firm that uses data to improve economic prosperity by connecting people, education and work in communities across the U.S. and internationally. Emsi works with professionals in higher education, economic development, workforce development, talent acquisition and site selection. Headquartered in Moscow, Idaho, with offices in the UK and Dallas, Emsi serves clients across the U.S., the UK, Canada and Australia.

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