5 Best Cities to Find a Job

January 31, 2015
Jared Kaltwasser

The US economy added some 252,000 jobs last month, according to the most recent data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. That was good enough to drop the unemployment rate to 5.6%, the lowest rate since June of 2008.

The US economy added some 252,000 jobs last month, according to the most recent data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. That was good enough to drop the unemployment rate to 5.6%, the lowest rate since June of 2008.

However, as with most large data sets, the good news comes along with some not-so-good news. Specifically, wages aren’t growing at the pace many economists would expect during a time of falling unemployment. In an op-ed for The Washington Post, former Obama Administration economist Jared Bernstein said wages haven’t picked up because the relatively low unemployment rate is somewhat misleading.

“The job market is less tight than you’d think from just looking at the unemployment rate, because a lot of people gave up the search when job creation was negative or weak,” he wrote.

Another issue: The low unemployment rates aren’t spread evenly across the US. For instance, North Dakota has an unemployment rate of just 2.7% in November, the last month for which complete state unemployment data are available. On the other end of the spectrum is Mississippi, which had a 7.3% unemployment rate.

The website WalletHub recently took the data a step further in an effort to determine which cities have the strongest and weakest job markets. The result is their list of the Best and Worst Cities to Find a Job.

The report uses a variety of data beyond the unemployment rate. For instance, it looks at the number of job openings compared to the number of unemployed people, the median salary for people starting new jobs, housing affordability, and employer benefits. Those data were split into 2 categories: Job Market and Socioeconomic Environment.

WalletHub included 150 cities in the list. The bottom 3 were:

148. Detroit, MI

149. Moreno Valley, CA

150. San Bernadino, CA

So which cities scored the highest? What follows are the 5 Best Cities to Find a Job. Data come from WalletHub’s report and the US Census Bureau (2013 population estimates and median household income, 2009-2013).

1. Seattle, WA

Job Market Rank: 2

Socioeconomic Environment Rank: 12

Population: 652,000

Median Household Income: $65,277

2. Des Moines, IA

Job Market Rank: 1

Socioeconomic Environment Rank: 19

Population: 208,000

Median Household Income: $45,836

3. Gilbert, AZ

Job Market Rank: 15

Socioeconomic Environment Rank: 7

Population: 230,000

Median Household Income: $80,355

4. Sioux Falls, SD

Job Market Rank: 12

Socioeconomic Environment Rank: 8

Population: 165,000

Median Household Income: $51,672

5. Fremont, CA

Job Market Rank: 10

Socioeconomic Environment Rank: 14

Population: 225,000

Median Household Income: $101,535