Report Profiles the US' Best Job Markets


Believe it or not, college graduation is right around the corner, once you make it through the oncoming winter. Right now, college seniors across America are considering their futures. Some have been working internships and are confident of continuing with their work full time after interning.

Others may be setting up job interviews for the first quarter of next year. Those who haven't initiated a job search may be waiting until the last minute, hoping for some key information that may guide them. A new report may provide the exact kind of information they're seeking.

My friends at just sent me their latest report, Best And Worst Job Markets In America, compiled by Kathy Morris. The introductory text spells out the reality for job seekers:

Job hunting is no fun. From trying to craft the perfect cover letter, to searching for the right position, and gearing up for the big interview, the whole process can be more than a little stress inducing.

However, just like your education and occupation, where you are looking for a job can make a drastic difference in the ease and length of your job search. While the economy is booming and unemployment continues to be low, not every city is experiencing the same level of economic growth.

For the second year running, Zippia delved into the data to uncover the cities where it is easiest to get a job. At the bottom [of the report] is a full list of the 100 top job markets in the US. However, let's start with the best of the best first.

The "best of the best" comprise the Top 10 best job markets in America:

1. Charlottesville, Va.

2. California-Lexington Park, Md.

3. Trenton, N.J.

4. Albany-Schenectady-Troy, N.Y.

5. Richmond, Va.

6. Ithaca, N.Y.

7. Midland, Texas

8. Des Moines-West Des Moines, Iowa

9. San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, Calif.

10. Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, Conn.

If you're interested in the methodology used to make these rankings, here's how they did it:

We used the most recent Bureau of Labor Statistics to pull data for 377 different metro areas.

While unemployment rate can tell you a lot about the local job market, it is simply one metric and job markets are complex entities. We opted to take a more in-depth look at the best job markets in the country.

Each region was ranked 1 to 377 in four categories:

- Unemployment Rate

- Change In Unemployment Rate

- Wage Change

- Current Average Wage

The lower the score in each category the better. For example, Ocean City, NJ saw a 1.4% drop in unemployment, earning it the #1 spot in 'Change In Unemployment Rate. The four ranked categories were then averaged together to produce our final list. The final list ranked the 377 metro areas 1 to 377. Once again, the lower the score, the stronger the job market.

We did not take into account cost of living when producing this list, as our main goal was to show labor movement. However, cost of living can vary dramatically by region and is an important factor to examine when contemplating a move.

Here is some additional depth on some of those Top 10:

1. Charlottesville, Va.

- Employed Population: 110,458

- Unemployment Rate: 2.6 percent

- Annual Average Wage: $58,327

The southern city features two UNESCO world heritage sites and a thriving middle class. A significant contributing factor to Charlottesville's #1 rank is its sizable increase in average salary year over year. The 2018 average wage of $58,327 increased $11,174 from the 2017 average wage. That is a nice jump!

5. Richmond, Va.

- Employed Population: 625,043

- Unemployment Rate: 3 percent

- Annual Average Wage: $58,570

Just 72 miles away from Charlottesville, Richmond is a booming alternative for those who prefer a more urban environment. Six Fortune 500 companies currently call Richmond home, while others have a large presence in the southern city. In addition, Richmond is home to the Virginia BioTechnology Research Park, a rapidly growing incubator for biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies.

7. Midland, TX

- Employed Population: 87,615

- Unemployment Rate: 2.1 percent

- Annual Average Wage: $58,100

While this Texas town may be one of the smaller towns on the list, it has a lot to offer job hunters. The city's economy is closely linked to the petroleum industry and can experience related fluctuations. An additional win, Midland boasts the lowest unemployment rate on the list.

8. Des Moines-West Des Moines, Iowa

- Employed Population: 327,675

- Unemployment Rate: 2.4 percent

- Annual Average Wage: $56,692

Des Moines has the lowest average salary on the top 10; However, its 2.4% (and dropping) unemployment rate makes Des Moines a great place for job seekers. In addition, Des Moines is a major center of the US insurance industry, making it a great location for those in the industry.

9. San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, Calif.

- Employed Population: 1,000,827

- Unemployment Rate: 2.8 percent

- Annual Average Wage: $72,358

San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara fell from last year's number one spot. However, the California metro-region still has a lot to offer. In addition to sunny weather, San Jose houses California's Silicon Valley and thriving tech scene. It also takes home the prize for highest average salary at $72,358.

Those are five of the Top 10. Check out the remaining five's details on the report's page. While you're there, you can also check out the complete list of 100, which spans from Charlottesville down to Las Vegas. Happy hunting!