Smart restaurant operators know that they have to follow the money in the race to win share of wallet. And in 2020 some profitable paths to paychecks are expected to end in urban areas where demand is high for educated workers.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expects total employment will grow by 14.3 percent by 2020, resulting in 20.5 million new jobs. Job sectors like health care, social assistance and business services will see the largest growth, and the number of jobs requiring master’s degrees is expected to grow by 21.7 percent.

The BLS predicts that the following metro markets will see some of the greatest job growth by 2020, providing a road map to where restaurant operators should look to expand.

New York-White Plains, N.Y.; Wayne, N.J.

Home to a broad array of companies, services and one of the country’s largest ports, New York City and its surrounding environs have long been an economic force. To keep the momentum, city officials have undertaken several initiatives, such as the Bio NYC 2020 study. That effort is aimed at bringing bioscience, research and health care technology enterprises — nicknamed Eds & Meds — to the area.
No. of new jobs by 2020: 929,200

Springfield, Mass. photo: ThinkstockSpringfield, Mass.

Western Massachusetts already boasts 450 machining companies supporting the medical, renewable energy and aerospace industries, according to the region’s Economic Development Council. That group is pushing the region’s easy access to Boston and New York — and its lower cost of living — as well as its wealth of colleges and universities.
No. of new jobs by 2020: 12,000

Baltimore-Towson, Md.

Several industries in the Baltimore area are poised for growth in the next seven years, including financial services, information technology, defense and life sciences. Given Baltimore’s proximity to Washington, the area also houses some federal agencies, including the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Baltimore County’s Department of Planning is working to attract more business sectors, revitalize targeted downtown areas and encourage tourism.
No. of new jobs by 2020: 180,000

Washington area

Government cuts have forced those in metropolitan Washington to set their sights on other industries for future growth. The geographic area already boasts an educated workforce — 22 percent of employees currently have graduate or professional degrees, according to the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments — as well as three international airports, a large mass-transit system and many cultural attractions. Industries including biotech, cybersecurity, hospitality and shipping are being explored. And nearby Bethesda, Md., is well-positioned to capitalize on the projected surge in health care-related occupations, with the National Institutes of Health, the National Cancer Institute and Walter Reed National Military Medical Center all located in the metro area.
No. of new jobs by 2020: 490,000