New Tool Gives SHRM Members Local Economic Data

By SHRM Online staff Feb 17, 2010
Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) members looking for updated, comprehensive economic and labor market data analysis for the largest metropolitan areas in the United States can turn to a new interactive tool that SHRM launched in early 2010.

A summary about each metro area, and individualized five-page reports and PowerPoint presentations for a dozen cities, have been available since Jan. 15, says Joe Coombs, SHRM workplace trends and forecasting specialist.

The report for Atlanta, for example, includes:

  • That area’s unemployment rate.
  • Vital statistics for its labor pool.
  • Demographics, such as working age categories and a breakdown of that area’s various industries.
  • Unionization information.
  • Median household income for the area.
  • Employee compensation and benefits data.

In Atlanta, for example, employers are slightly less likely to offer consumer-driven health plans compared to the rest of the nation and are less likely to offer domestic partner benefits, according to the report.

The report includes median salaries for top management, comparing that area to the rest of the United States. In metropolitan Atlanta, for example, the top HR executive receives a median income of $285,000 vs. $244,000 elsewhere in the U.S.

SHRM envisions its members using the data for recruitment purposes and with new employees who relocate to an area.

“We hear frequently from members who want more localized data from SHRM,” notes Coombs. “Ideally, the metro outlooks will become an important resource for members for when they are recruiting for open positions or pursuing business expansions in other markets. With a solid blend of compensation, demographic and labor market data, the reports should give members a good working knowledge of their local economy.”


“Though HR professionals need a good understanding of the economic conditions in their area, it can sometimes be difficult to track down the most relevant data. The Metro Economic Outlooks simplify the process by bringing this information together in one place,” said Jennifer Schramm, SHRM’s manager of workplace trends and forecasting. She added that the format of the data makes it easy for HR professionals to integrate into their own presentations.

Coombs writes the reports, which are a compilation of government and SHRM-generated data, and he conducts interviews with experts connected to each metro area’s economy.

We will check back with our local experts and conduct new interviews periodically,” Coombs says. “The information we’re providing will be constantly updated.”

In addition, he compiles the downloadable PowerPoint presentations. Updated monthly, these are charts and graphs illustrating information from each report.

Initially, the metropolitan outlooks cover Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York City, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Washington, D.C.

Several areas will be added by the end of 2010, including Phoenix, San Diego, Seattle, St. Louis and the Twin Cities of Minnesota. A few other areas remain to be finalized, but those selected for the reports are based largely on population numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Members can access the data by clicking on the “Research” menu button at the top of the SHRM web site. From there:

  • Select “Labor Market & Economic Data.”
  • This takes members to a page that includes “Metro Economic Outlooks.”
  • Click on “Metro Economic Outlooks.” This takes members to a U.S. map with buttons for the various metropolitan areas.
  • Click on one of the buttons representin​g a major metropolitan area to access the report and PowerPoint presentation for that metropolitan area.


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