Best (and Worst) Cities to Find a Job

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The unemployment rate for the country as a whole is at record post-recession lows, coming in under 4 percent in recent months. But that doesn’t mean that it’s easy to find a job.

Several factors affect how quickly you can get hired after deciding to make a job change (or having it decided for you, in the form of a layoff or termination). Education, experience and occupational outlook all affect your personal job outlook.

But don’t count out the importance of being in the right geographical place at the right time. Some U.S. cities are better than others when it comes to finding a job. The same is true for U.S. states - some have much better job prospects than others.

A report from WalletHub ranked the best and worst cities for getting hired in the coming year. The site looked at more than 180 cities in the U.S., evaluating them according to 26 different metrics, including job opportunities, employment growth, and median salary. These are the best and worst cities to find a job right now:

5 Best Cities to Find a Job

1. Chandler, AZ
Chandler boasts the highest growth rate amongst cities and a well-educated workforce with nearly 75 percent of adult residents having attended college. 40 percent of Chandler's adult residents possess a bachelor's or advanced degree. Chandler residents earn among the highest wages in the Greater Phoenix area with an estimated median household income of $75,633.

Popular Employers: Intel, PayPal, Wells Fargo, Bank of America and Microchip Technology

How Much You Can Earn: Chandler Average Salary

2. Scottsdale, AZ
Good weather year round makes Scottsdale a popular tourist destination, so it’s no surprise that Scottsdale boasts a healthy tourism industry, including destination spas and booming nightlife.

Popular Employers: The Vanguard GroupCVS Caremark Corporation, General Dynamics

How Much You Can Earn: Scottsdale Average Salary

3. San Francisco, CA
The epicenter of the tech industry in the U.S., San Francisco boasts some of the highest paying jobs — and highest cost of living — in the country.

Popular Employers: Inc.Google Inc.The Gap Inc.
How Much You Can Earn: San Francisco Average Salary

4. Peoria, AZ
Peoria was tied with Chandler for the highest employment growth amongst cities. The city sees its future growth in advanced business services, manufacturing, bioscience, health care, and scientific and technical services.

Popular Employers: Peoria Unified School District, City of Peoria, The Antigua Group

How Much You Can Earn: Peoria Average Salary

5. Plano, TX
Plano has headquarters for several major corporations, including Bank of America Home Loans, Frito-Lay, and FedEx Office.

About 80 percent of the city’s visitors are business travelers.

Popular Employers: Ericsson Inc.Capital One Financial GroupPepsiCo Inc.

How Much You Can Earn: Plano Average Salary

5 Worst Cities to Find a Job

1. Shreveport, LA
Shreveport received the lowest Job Market rank in the WalletHub analysis and the most recent unemployment rate for the area was 5.2%, well above the national average. The city also placed near the bottom in socio-economic factors including educational level and average income.

Popular Employers: Benteler, Willis-Knighton Medical Center, U.S Airforce

How Much You Can Earn: Shreveport Average Salary

2. Detroit, MI
The Motor City has had more than its share of economic trouble in the past few decades, thanks to the decline within the manufacturing sector.

Popular Employers: General Motors CorporationQuicken LoansFord Motor Company
How Much You Can Earn: Detroit Average Salary

3. Newark, NJ
The manufacturing decline hit Newark hard; in 2016, Forbes reported that the city had lost 10 percent of manufacturing employment since 2010.

Popular Employers: PrudentialHorizon Blue Cross and Blue Shield, New Jersey Institute of Technology

How Much You Can Earn: Newark Average Salary

4. Columbus, Georgia
Unemployment in Columbus still averaged about 4.4%, well above the national rate. Household income significantly lagged national averages.

Popular Employers: Total Systems Services, AFLAC, U.S Army

How Much You Can Earn: Columbus Average Salary

5. New Orleans, LA
Unemployment in New Orleans is higher than the national average and WalletHub designated it as having the second lowest employment growth. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics average weekly wages amounted to only $933.

Popular Employers: Entergy Corporation, Ochsner Medical Center, Tulane University

How Much You Can Earn: New Orleans Average Salary

Consider Your Industry When Making a Move

The best cities for all jobs aren’t necessarily the best cities for your specific occupation. If you’re contemplating a move to seek better opportunities, it pays to understand the market in your field.

"It's clear that opportunity is available in major cities across the country,” says Sam Radbil, Sr. Communications Manager at ABODO. “Whether you're a Millennial looking for your first job after college, or a Baby Boomer starting a new career, it's important to know where to look for the fastest growing jobs in your industry and in your city. From social services to health care, jobs are available if you're looking in the right places. And if you're simply a person looking for a fresh start in a new city, this information could be extremely helpful in your search for your next home."

Radbil says that ABODO’s data show that workers in the public relations and communications sector would do well to focus their searches in Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Washington D.C., or Seattle. Those outside the PR industry might want to consider them as well, since many crop up on other lists of great places to find work.

Of course, these cities also top lists of most expensive places to live. Cost-of-living, as well as opportunity, has to factor into any workers’ choice of where to move next.

Bottom line: look for an opportunity for your industry, and weigh that against cost-of-living in each location, to make the best choice for your next move.