10 Best Cities To Find A Job
Choosing whether to relocate for work is rarely an easy decision. And that's particularly true if you're not quite sure where to move to or haven't yet landed a job. How to make it easier in this tough economy? Focus on places where job seekers are having an easier time finding employment.
Personal-finance website NerdWallet has done just that, examining data from the U.S. Census Bureau and the Council For Community and Economic Research to find the fastest-growing cities for those seeking employment. NerdWallet then ranked 26 U.S. cities based on four factors: population growth, income, unemployment rate and cost-of-living.
The top 10 winners are shown below. Check them out and tell us what you think.
- Median annual salary: $31,910.
- Unemployment rate: 9.2 percent.
- Median rent (for a two-bedroom apartment, monthly): $790.
NerdWallet credits Charlotte's upsurge in population, moderately high salaries and low cost-of-living for making this Southern city an ideal destination for job seekers. Major industries include banking, motor sports and defense.
- Median annual salary: $31,667.
- Unemployment rate: 7.4 percent.
- Median rent: $823.
San Antonio's relatively low unemployment rate and low cost-of-living make it a better option than many cities for job-seekers, NerdWallet says. Growing industries here include cyber security and information technology, with more than 80 companies in the city focused on those sectors. Other big employers include financial services, health care and defense, which employs nearly 90,000 people.
- Median annual salary: $41,695.
- Unemployment rate: 7.5 percent.
- Median rent: $1,417.
With no shortage of high-tech employers, such as Microsoft Corp. and Amazon.com Inc., Seattle remains a strong draw for many job seekers. The high cost-of-living, reflected in rents that are higher than many other cities on this list, are offset by higher median income and relatively low unemployment. Health care is another big employer of Seattleites, providing jobs to 20 percent of the city's workforce.
- Median annual salary: $27,251.
- Unemployment rate: 8.5 percent.
- Median rent: $792.
Dallas' primary draw for job hunters includes a low cost-of-living, especially compared to similarly sized cities. But its unemployment rate is slightly higher than other Texas cities on this list and salaries are on the low side. Still, NerdWallet says, a wealth of jobs in the tech and telecommunications sectors make the Big D worthy considering should you be relocating to find employment.
- Median annual salary: $24,270.
- Unemployment rate: 8 percent.
- Median rent: $980.
As with other Texas cities on this list, Fort Worth's high rank is aided by its affordability. Rents are comparatively low, as is the city's unemployment rate. Fort Worth is the working class neighbor to its more glamorous neighbor, Dallas, and that's reflected in the industries that dominate here, including manufacturing and airlines, which include American Airlines, which is based here.
- Median annual salary: $26,849.
- Unemployment rate: 8.2 percent.
- Median rent: $1,311.
As with many cities on this list, Houston's attractiveness as a haven for job seekers is driven in part by strong population growth, combined with a "moderately low" unemployment and a low cost-of-living. Dominant industries include health care research, manufacturing, aerospace and alternative -- or "green" -- energy.
- Median annual salary: $32,051.
- Unemployment rate: 9.1 percent.
- Median rent: $931.
Denver is situated near the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, making it a great place for those who like living in a big city but also appreciate easy access to wilderness and outdoor activities. Though it's no longer the bargain it once was, the cost-of-living is comparatively low, and the region's economy is well diversified. Top industries here include aerospace, broadcasting, telecommunications and health care, which has seen a 23 percent increase in employment during the last five years.
- Median annual salary: $46,777.
- Unemployment rate: 8.6 percent.
- Median rent: $2,702.
Living in San Francisco is expensive, but the exponential increase in rent, compared to other cities on this list, is matched by higher salaries. A frequent destination for tourists, San Francisco's proximity to the Silicon Valley nearby has fashioned the city into a tech hub, with some of the best known names in the business based here or nearby: Facebook Inc., Google Inc., Twitter Inc., Yelp Inc. and more.
- Median annual salary: $43,993.
- Unemployment rate: 10.2 percent.
- Median rent: $1,823.
The nation's capital endured tough times during the '60s, '70s and '80s, as residents fled the city for the suburbs. But the draw of thousands of well-paying jobs, in both the private and public sectors, has helped fuel Washington's revival. NerdWallet says that although the unemployment rate and cost of living are high, a higher-than-average median income makes the city more affordable for job seekers.
- Median annual salary: $31,170.
- Unemployment rate: 6.2 percent.
- Median rent: $968.
Topping NerdWallet's Best Cities for Job Seekers list, Austin offers the best combination of attractive qualities for those looking for work. It's unemployment rate, by comparison, is low, salaries are decent and rents reasonable. It's also a fast growing city with burgeoning biotech and tech sectors. IBM, Apple Inc. and Google all have a presence here, and computing-giant Dell Inc. calls Austin home.
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David Schepp has spent more than a dozen years covering business news for the electronic and print media, including Dow Jones Newswires, BBC News, Gannett Co., and most recently at AOL's DailyFinance. Nearly 10 years ago, he started writing a weekly People@Work column, looking in depth at issues facing workers in today's workplace. The syndicated column appeared in newspapers and websites nationwide before it made its debut on DailyFinance in 2010. Schepp now continues that tradition at Aol Jobs, covering the jobs beat and providing readers insight and analysis into the nation's challenging employment scene.
Schepp holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism from Metropolitan State College of Denver.
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