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

Westward expansion

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Baton Rouge, La. photo: ThinkstockBaton Rouge, La.


Employment is expected to grow by 15.5 percent in Louisiana’s capital region by 2020, according to the Louisiana Workforce Commission. Industries leading the charge include administrative and waste services, projected to increase 33.9 percent; professional, scientific and technical services, projected to rise 30.1 percent; transportation and warehousing, projected to jump 27 percent; and construction, projected to increase 21.9 percent.
No. of new jobs by 2020: 37,700

San Antonio-New Braunfels, Texas

San Antonio is planning for its future through a nonprofit group called SA2020. The group’s goal is to increase the area’s attractiveness as a place to live, work and play. The industries targeted for growth are education, hospitality, health care, aerospace, information technology and biosciences.
No. of new jobs by 2020: 159,000

El Paso, Texas


The expansion of Fort Bliss and a subsequent increase in military jobs and local retail are expected to drive much of the economic growth in the El Paso area, according to projections by Thomas M. Fullerton, an economics professor at the University of Texas at El Paso. The nearby maquiladora industry — the Mexican manufacturing operations in the free-trade zone — is also expected to grow, boosting the regional economy.
No. of new jobs by 2020: 43,100

Colorado Springs, Colo.

Home to the U.S Air Force Academy and the North American Aerospace Defense Command, Colorado Springs will continue to be a bastion of aerospace and defense jobs. But the area’s wide-open spaces, Mountain Time Zone and tendency toward healthy living will lead to job growth in sectors like clean technology, back-office support and wellness, according to the Colorado Business Alliance.
No. of new jobs by 2020: 42,800

Tacoma, Wash. photo: ThinkstockTacoma, Wash.


The Tacoma area is an international gateway for trade, especially with China. Along with the jobs supported by the region’s many ports, the area also is home to such well-known companies as Amazon.com, Costco, Microsoft, Boeing, Nordstrom and Starbucks. The Puget Sound Regional Council projects that jobs related to professional, health, hospitality and education services will lead growth through 2040.
No. of new jobs by 2020: 285,200

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction: October 9, 2013 This story has been updated to state that Colorado Springs is located in the Mountain Time Zone.

Contact Robin Lee Allen at robinlee.allen@penton.com.
Follow her on Twitter: @RobinLeeAllen.