2018’s Best Places to Find a Job
With 2017 behind us, it’s time to think about fresh starts again. But whether that means a small change or a complete life overhaul, finding a new or better job will be a top resolution.
If that’s your mission for the new year, it’s a good time to be on the job market. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ most recent jobs report, the national unemployment rate has fallen to a 17-year low of 4.1 percent while hiring is up.
College graduates, especially, will see a strong boost in their job prospects. According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, employers plan to hire 4 percent more members from the Class of 2018 than from the previous graduating cohort.
But your luck of finding work depends largely on location. To help you with the job hunt, WalletHub compared more than 180 U.S. cities across 26 key indicators of job-market strength. They range from job opportunities to employment growth to monthly average starting salary. Read on for our findings, additional insight from our panel of experts and a full description of our methodology.
Best Places to Find a Job
(1 = Best)
|City||Total Score||‘Job Market’ Rank||‘Socio-economics’ Rank|
|3||San Francisco, CA||66.06||2||43|
|18||Salt Lake City, UT||60.65||17||28|
|26||Overland Park, KS||59.26||45||10|
|30||San Diego, CA||58.55||43||19|
|31||Des Moines, IA||58.42||37||29|
|32||Huntington Beach, CA||58.27||40||30|
|32||San Jose, CA||58.16||31||59|
|34||Rancho Cucamonga, CA||58.13||50||27|
|37||South Burlington, VT||57.91||38||44|
|38||Grand Prairie, TX||57.89||27||85|
|43||Grand Rapids, MI||57.32||52||40|
|44||St. Paul, MN||57.28||72||14|
|46||St. Petersburg, FL||57.20||41||58|
|47||Colorado Springs, CO||57.03||68||24|
|50||Santa Clarita, CA||56.92||36||90|
|52||West Valley City, UT||56.76||64||35|
|54||Virginia Beach, VA||56.45||75||20|
|55||Pearl City, HI||56.41||25||124|
|57||Little Rock, AR||56.12||23||160|
|59||San Antonio, TX||55.83||49||94|
|60||Los Angeles, CA||55.80||46||98|
|63||Sioux Falls, SD||55.33||87||21|
|64||Garden Grove, CA||55.20||85||32|
|66||Fort Smith, AR||54.87||34||157|
|71||Cedar Rapids, IA||54.58||84||52|
|72||Fort Lauderdale, FL||54.42||56||141|
|74||Long Beach, CA||54.18||61||125|
|82||Santa Rosa, CA||53.88||82||81|
|87||Fort Worth, TX||53.40||73||123|
|90||Santa Ana, CA||52.89||79||127|
|93||Cape Coral, FL||52.39||88||107|
|94||Kansas City, MO||52.15||89||104|
|95||Rapid City, SD||51.92||103||72|
|98||St. Louis, MO||51.26||93||120|
|103||Newport News, VA||50.78||108||97|
|104||Jersey City, NJ||50.73||126||49|
|105||New York, NY||50.72||110||91|
|107||El Paso, TX||50.62||109||96|
|109||Port St. Lucie, FL||50.48||107||111|
|119||Pembroke Pines, FL||49.61||118||108|
|126||Las Vegas, NV||49.13||143||53|
|130||Chula Vista, CA||48.65||114||148|
|136||Fort Wayne, IN||48.05||133||119|
|139||Corpus Christi, TX||47.54||117||156|
|144||Moreno Valley, CA||46.65||138||154|
|151||Baton Rouge, LA||45.60||150||140|
|154||Oklahoma City, OK||45.24||165||64|
|158||San Bernardino, CA||43.84||156||169|
|160||North Las Vegas, NV||43.66||163||137|
|162||Las Cruces, NM||43.59||172||88|
|165||New Haven, CT||43.07||178||77|
|177||New Orleans, LA||40.64||180||142|
Ask the Experts
Although the employment projections for 2018 appear to be promising, the job-hunting process can still be scary, especially for those entering the workforce for the first time or facing particular obstacles. To ease the burden on job seekers, we asked a panel of experts to share their thoughts on the following key questions:
- What is your prediction for the job market in 2018?
- What impact will the current administration’s policies have on job growth?
- Which fields are expected to grow the most in the coming years?
- Recent evidence suggests fewer people are moving across state lines in search for work. Why do you think this is, and what can be done to increase geographic mobility?
- What are the most common mistakes job seekers make when seeking employment?
- What types of programs have proven effective in helping unemployed individuals find work?
- Should unemployed people be required to do something in order to earn their unemployment benefits? If so, what?
In order to determine the best job markets in the U.S., WalletHub compared 182 cities — including the 150 most populated U.S. cities, plus at least two of the most populated cities in each state — across two key dimensions, “Job Market” and “Socio-economics.” We assigned a heavier weight to the former, considering the fact that factors in that category most heavily influence a job seeker’s decision in terms of relocation for employment.
We then evaluated the two dimensions using 26 relevant metrics, which are listed below with their corresponding weights. Each metric was graded on a 100-point scale, with a score of 100 representing the most favorable conditions for job seekers.
Finally, we determined each city’s weighted average across all metrics to calculate its total score and used the resulting scores to rank-order our sample. In determining our sample, we considered only the city proper in each case, excluding cities in the surrounding metro area.
Job Market – Total Points: 80
- Job Opportunities: Double Weight (~7.62 Points)
Note: This metric was calculated as follows: Number of Job Openings per Number of Population in Labor Force Minus Unemployment Rate.
- Employment Growth: Double Weight (~7.62 Points)
Note: This metric measures the rate of annual job growth adjusted by the working-age population growth.
- Monthly Average Starting Salary: Full Weight (~3.81 Points)
Note: This metric was adjusted for the cost of living.
- Unemployment Rate: Double Weight (~7.62 Points)
- Underemployment Rate: Full Weight (~3.81 Points)
- Industry Variety: Full Weight (~3.81 Points)
- Employment Outlook: Double Weight (~7.62 Points)
Note: This metric is based on the Manpower Employment Outlook Survey.
- Job Security: Full Weight (~3.81 Points)
Note: This metric was calculated as follows: (Number of Employees in 2016 – Number of Employees in 2015) / Number of Employees in 2015.
- Job Satisfaction: Full Weight (~3.81 Points)
- Retirement Access & Participation: Full Weight (~3.81 Points)
Note: This metric considers only employer-based retirement plans.
- Access to Employee Benefits: Full Weight (~3.81 Points)
Note: This metric measures the share of employees with private health insurance.
- Presence of Work-Share Programs: Full Weight (~3.81 Points)
Note: This binary metric measures the presence or absence of state programs that allow employers to temporarily reduce work hours of employees instead of laying them off during economic downturns.
- Full-Time Employment: Full Weight (~3.81 Points)
Note: This metric measures the number of part-time employees for every 100 full-time employees.
- Access to Internships: Full Weight (~3.81 Points)
Note: This metric measures the number of internships per total civilian population aged 16 to 24 in the labor force.
- Apprentice-Trainee Jobs as Share of Total Jobs Posted on Glassdoor.com: Full Weight (~3.81 Points)
Note: Apprentice-trainee jobs refers to on-the-job training.
- Share of Workers in Poverty: Full Weight (~3.81 Points)
Note: This metric measures the percentage of employed residents whose incomes are below the poverty line.
- Disability-Friendliness of Employers: Full Weight (~3.81 Points)
Note: This metric measures the percentage of persons with disabilities who are employed.
Socio-economics – Total Points: 20
- Median Annual Income: Full Weight (~2.22 Points)
Note: This metric was adjusted for the cost of living.
- Average Work & Commute Time: Full Weight (~2.22 Points)
Note: This metric measures the average length of a workday and the average commute time.
- Transit Accessibility of Workplace: Full Weight (~2.22 Points)
Note: This metric measures the number of jobs accessible by a 30-minute transit ride per total civilian workforce.
- Housing Affordability: Full Weight (~2.22 Points)
- Annual Transportation Costs: Full Weight (~2.22 Points)
- Safety: Full Weight (~2.22 Points)
Note: This metric measures the crime rate.
- Family-Friendliness: Full Weight (~2.22 Points)
Note: This metric is based on WalletHub’s “Best & Worst Places to Raise a Family” ranking.
- Dating-Friendliness: Full Weight (~2.22 Points)
Note: This metric is based on WalletHub’s “Best & Worst Cities for Singles” ranking.
- Recreation-Friendliness: Full Weight (~2.22 Points)
Note: This metric is based on WalletHub’s “Best & Worst Cities for Recreation” ranking.
Sources: Data used to create this ranking were collected from the U.S. Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development, Council for Community and Economic Research, Indeed, Center for Neighborhood Technology, The Pew Charitable Trusts, National Conference of State Legislatures, Glassdoor, ManpowerGroup, Chmura Economics & Analytics, Chegg and WalletHub research.
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