Where the Jobs Are

Cities Where the Job Market is Promising

Where the Jobs Are
August 27, 2015

The employment picture in the U.S. has been brightening, but the improvement has not been evenly dispersed across the nation. Whether you have just graduated from college and are now looking for your first full-time job or you are looking for a job/career change, you're interested in finding areas with the greatest job opportunities.

Both Ziprecruiter.com and WalletHub.com ranked the 2015 job market in various U.S. cities earlier in the year taking slightly different approaches. Ziprecruiter looked purely at employment figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, including applicant-to-employer and applications-to-job posting ratios. Their top choices are:

  • Lincoln, NE – The capital of Nebraska boasts solid job growth including the national lead in construction job growth, low overall unemployment, and strong manufacturing and healthcare bases.

  • Fargo, ND – Fargo has shown steadier growth than the boom and bust cycle of the North Dakota oil fields, with education and healthcare as main job drivers.

  • Rochester, MN – The home of the Mayo Clinic offers major opportunities in healthcare and construction.

  • Sioux Falls, SD – Sioux Falls has shown continuous strong job growth and has opportunities in fields ranging from manufacturing to financial services.

Other Ziprecruiter top cities include Provo and Salt Lake City, UT; Omaha, NE; Fort Collins and Boulder, CO; Columbus, OH; and Minneapolis, MN.

WalletHub chose to include a "socioeconomic environment" ranking in their analysis. Congratulations to Sioux Falls, Omaha, and Salt Lake City — all three cities stayed near the top of both the Ziprecruiter and WalletHub lists.

WalletHub rated Seattle, WA, as the top city with Des Moines, IA, as the second choice (top overall for job market only). Their results include an odd Arizona bias, listing four Phoenix suburbs (Gilbert, Chandler, Scottsdale, and Peoria) in their top fifteen markets.

A third analysis comes from the real-estate site Zillow. This analysis ranks the best combinations of job opportunities and income growth with affordable housing — as you might expect from a real estate site. Cities are slotted into quadrants, with the most desirable cities falling into the quadrant of both high growth and affordable housing.

Smaller communities in the "sweet spot" include Dalton, GA, Elkhart, IN, and Battle Creek, MI; larger communities include Atlanta, Dallas-Fort Worth, and Louisville. Zillow suggests avoiding the "sour spots" of lesser employment opportunities and expensive housing such as Atlantic City, NJ, Santa Fe, NM, and Great Falls, MT.

Several sites have incorporated Zillow's interactive infographic, including the Wall Street Journal at this address: http://blogs.wsj.com/economics/2015/06/01/where-are-the-cities-with-good-job-markets-and-affordable-housing/.. Move your cursor over each bubble to see the values for a particular area and see how your preferred choices stack up.

The wide variance in the analyses suggests that there are many ways to assess local job markets and that some of them are contradictory. For example, Columbia, MO, comes in fifth best at Ziprecruiter for small job markets, but fares poorly in the Zillow survey on the employment front (not the housing front).

Consider the above information and websites as starting points for your search. Employment conditions can change rapidly in any city, and the local employment opportunities may not match your qualifications or skills. It is best to network within your field and find out where the major employers and opportunities in your field are located, and use these guides as supplementary documents to help you review employment options.

As you evaluate your options, don’t forget to check out the cost-of-living, lifestyle, and housing opportunities before you commit to a new city. Is a great job in a city you don't like really that great of a job?


Photo ©iStock.com/YinYang

  Conversation   |   31 Comments

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Elaine | 08.27.15 @ 14:08
I have not found the employment options brightening in my area. Unless you are a blue collar worker willing to leave home for training for a few months, there isn't really anything available in my area.
Daniel Dohlstrom | 08.27.15 @ 14:22
It may just be local but more jobs seem to be opening up, even some long empty buildings getting revampped for new owners/employers who knows we could move up this list soon
Nancy | 08.27.15 @ 14:22
Slim pickings to be sure. The sad part is, how many unemployed people can pack up and move to whee the jobs are located.?
Crystal | 08.27.15 @ 14:25
WOW! I am surprised by these cities making the list. I guess it gives me hope that maybe one day soon one of our towns will also make the list.
Apryl | 08.27.15 @ 14:26
I would have never guessed some of these locations as hot spots!
Steffanie | 08.27.15 @ 14:27
Employment in our area is decent, but not sure it will stay that way.
Bobbie | 08.27.15 @ 14:31
Interesting read, like how the article reminds to check for cost of living and personal lifestyle, no point of moving to a small town if you love the nightlife of a big city!
Irene | 08.27.15 @ 14:35
I can tell you one thing, there are still a lot of people out of work here in RI and MA has also been slow to recover from the recession.
Christina | 08.27.15 @ 14:44
Hopefully this will happen in all states. A lot of people are still looking for work..
Erin | 08.27.15 @ 14:51
Some interesting places where job growth is occurring. It would be nice if the companies in those areas would be willing to pay some relocation fees to obtain skilled workers.
gracie | 08.27.15 @ 14:52
It's good to see that things are brightening somewhere. As far as the eye can see or drive around here things are still looking bleak and no brightening. Perhaps as time passes things will change and maybe some new local start-ups will go into the empty buildings and bring some vitality back.
Alec | 08.27.15 @ 14:53
My city didn't make the list. But because we've got a bunch of colleges within a small area, there are a lot of part time jobs and affordable apartments. I hope the economy keeps fixing itself and unemployment drops further.
Britt | 08.27.15 @ 14:55
I live in a very small town, moreso... a very small college town, so when it comes to employment, the options are very limited.
Heather | 08.27.15 @ 15:16
My city isn't on the list But we have several companies opening up and creating jobs. Good sign that the economy is growing again.
Christina | 08.27.15 @ 15:17
I moved to Austin for better employment opportunities... so far, it's been a challenge even getting interviews. Most of the jobs seem to be entry level and are salaried accordingly :(
Sarah | 08.27.15 @ 15:23
It's good to know where jobs could be plentiful. Thankfully my husband has a trade that he can work pretty much anywhere.
Zanna | 08.27.15 @ 15:37
I have a hard time understanding why more companies are not investing in remote employees. Working with someone long-distance is not that difficult with a little planning, and saves the company from having to pay to relocate someone who may be the best fit for the job.
Beverly | 08.27.15 @ 15:37
There really aren't a lot of "good" jobs out there that are available. Most places that say they have a "hot" job market are mostly part time jobs. It's cheaper to have part-time workers than it is to have full time. So just because a place says the jobs are plentiful, make sure you find out what kind.
Victor | 08.27.15 @ 15:57
Its good, To have this information especially when i was planing to move
Victor | 08.27.15 @ 15:57
Its good, To have this information especially when i was planing to move
Sara | 08.27.15 @ 16:01
Not really surprised that my city is not on the list. But it does seem like jobs are opening slowly here.
Jackie | 08.27.15 @ 16:06
Interesting article. I'd never have guessed some of the cities on the list. It seems there are more jobs opening up in our area but they're mostly blue collar jobs.
Andrea | 08.27.15 @ 16:32
Good luck to all the unemployed.
trish | 08.27.15 @ 16:38
Amazon is opening a fulfillment location in our area. That will be bringing a lot of job opportunities!
Crystal | 08.27.15 @ 17:06
Usually unemployed people don't have the option of moving their families to where the jobs are.
Kamie | 08.27.15 @ 17:31
SD and ND are the places you want to work for the great pay, but at what cost? Mica is in the air up there and it can cause so many health issues.
Debbie | 08.27.15 @ 17:32
There always seems to be job postings in our area but my daughter that just graduated high school is having a really hard time being hired for even the fast food chains. How do kids new to the job market get jobs?
Donnie | 08.27.15 @ 19:10
This is all fine, but I don't want to live in a big city. Small town country feel.
Wanda Langley | 08.27.15 @ 19:43
Unless you can drive a Semi Truck there are not a lot of employment optinions in my area. There are a few Factory openings coming up for Seasonal workers.
Rychana Vingia | 08.27.15 @ 20:28
It is hard in my area to find jobs that pay enough to live on. Most jobs available only pay around $10 an hour.
Angie | 08.27.15 @ 21:10
I am currently experiencing being unemployed for the second time in my life. There are a lot of job opportunities, but it is also a college town with lots of students who can accept a lesser salary than an almost 50 something. We do have a lovely town desirable to live in, in my opinion. I couldn't imagine relocating to another town now...
$commenter.renderDisplayableName() | 12.10.16 @ 09:17
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