RALEIGH, North Carolina (WNCN) – Two North Carolina cities were ranked in the top 10 communities best positioned to recover after the coronavirus pandemic.

Durham and Raleigh, listed separately, made the list thanks to the Triangle’s growing tech industry. The list was featured in Forbes following a study from Moody’s Analytics.

According to Forbes, the list was calculated using population density, education and the number of jobs requiring higher education.

Moody’s Analytics , The Next Recovery: A Regional Perspective, said cities that can provide good paying jobs to future residents are in a good spot to recover. High-density areas like New York City or Los Angeles may be less attractive to people in the future as they recall the immense impact of COVID-19 in those areas. Moody’s Analytics said as those people choose less densely populated areas, companies will have to follow those workers.

The Triangle’s more loosely populated area combined with the boom in tech industry related jobs puts both Durham and Raleigh in a good position to do well.

Top 10 cities best suited for recovery after COVID-19

  • Boise, Idaho
  • Denver, Colorado
  • Durham, North Carolina
  • Madison, Wisconsin
  • Provo, Utah
  • Raleigh, North Carolina
  • Salt Lake City, Utah
  • San Jose, California
  • Tucson, Arizona
  • Washington DC

Top 10 cities worst suited for recovery after COVID-19

  • Detroit, Michigan
  • Honolulu, Hawaii
  • Los Angeles, California
  • McAllen, Texas
  • Miami, Florida
  • New Haven, Connecticut
  • New York City
  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Stockton, California
  • Tampa, Florida

These lists are in alphabetical order. They do not reflect the specific ranking.

Brooks Raiford, president and CEO of the North Carolina Tech Association said the rankings don’t come as a surprise.

“We’re very fortunate in North Carolina generally, and certainly here in the Triangle, to have several layers of strength,” Raiford said. He cited top universities, the capitol area, along with strong k-12 schools and community colleges as those strengths.

“The fortunate thing is the economy already had strong fundamentals and so this downturn is an incident triggered event. It’s not because of weakness in the fundamentals,” Raiford said.

Raiford said North Carolina had positioned itself as an attractive state before the pandemic. That attraction could continue as professionals opt to move outside traditional metro hotbeds like new York City.

“As talent moves to where they want to want to live in terms of quality of education, quality of life, cost of living, we are especially well positioned to capitalize on that,” Raiford said.

NC State economics professor Dr. Michael Walden said, “I don’t mean to imply that North Carolina is benefiting from other people’s woes but if we are going to have a re-distribution of where people live, North Carolina is well positioned to take advantage of that.”

Dr. Walden believed technology will continue to hold strong despite an economic downturn. The tech industry naturally lends itself to have a capability to work from home, allowing a large portion of tech-related companies in the Triangle to remain operating.

“We believe technology is going to continue to grow in this economy. It may even get a boost after this pandemic as people in businesses look for better ways to do things to shield them from viruses and technology is one of those ways,” Dr. Walden said.

The North Carolina Tech Association conducted a tech leadership poll twice monthly since March. It showed perspective of those in the tech industry during the pandemic shift over time.

When asked what month they guessed measurable economic improvement would begin, 45-percent of respondents said it would start past September. That’s later than when they were asked in March.

“Now, a larger proportion of tech leaders believe indeed it will happen in the fourth quarter onward, rather than starting in the summer,” said Raiford.

Source: NC Tech Association

Dr. Walden said he also expects recovery to start in the fourth quarter but said businesses will still have a gap to fill from the current downturn.

“I’m cautiously optimistic that work will come back. Now, it’s going to be a while before we get down to four-percent unemployment. That’s nowhere in the telescope right now. It’s going to be well over a year from now before we could even reach four-percent,” Dr. Walden said.

One question posed to respondents in NC Tech Association’s poll was what impact the current economic environment had on their business. In March, 23-percent said there was a increase in demand, 39-percent said there was a decrease, 37-percent said the impact was neutral. Those shifted to a more even split by May with respondents voting 31-percent, 34-percent, and 35-percent, respectively.

Source: NC Tech Association

Leaders in the tech industry were also asked what impact there was on hiring. In March, 7-percent said they were implementing layoffs or pay reductions. Another 52-percent said they froze hiring. About 42-percent said they were still hiring. Flash forward to May, 8-percent said they were implementing layoffs or pay reductions, hiring freezes were down to 46-percent. Companies still hiring went up to 46-percent.

Source: NC Tech Association