The Best Cities for Jobs in 2017:
Where to Find Great Opportunities in the U.S.

The Best Cities for Jobs in 2017What are the best cities for jobs right now? That's a smart question. Thankfully, there are many great answers. You might even live in one of the best U.S. cities for finding work already. If not, you may be close to one. Or, like many other job seekers, maybe you're ready and willing to move farther from home in order to take advantage of a particular city's growing economy. After all, where you are today doesn't have to be where you stay tomorrow.

Ultimately, the best place to find jobs is a little different for every person. It often depends on your occupation, the industry you'd like to work in, and whether you'd prefer to live in a large, midsize, or small city. For example, the best cities for tech jobs are frequently different than the best cities for manufacturing or agricultural jobs. And, of course, the largest cities in America tend to provide the greatest number and variety of opportunities. However, many small and midsize cities also generate terrific jobs in a surprising range of industries.

So, what are the best cities to find a job in? Urban labor markets are always changing, but this article answers that question in a few ways:

To arrive at our lists, we used a different methodology than websites like Glassdoor tend to use. First, we used data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to find out which metropolitan areas in the U.S. had the lowest unemployment rates as of September 2016.1 Then, we ranked those areas based on their 10-year projected rates of employment growth. In some cases, only statewide projections were available.

For each metropolitan area, we've also included the population (based on U.S. Census Bureau data for 2015, unless otherwise noted).2 In addition, we've included the average yearly wages for each area (based on BLS data from 2015).3 And we've also provided a few examples of hot jobs for each area (based on their prevalence in online job boards as of November 2016).


The 25 Best Large Cities in America for Jobs

The Best Cities for Jobs in 2017It isn't always the case, but the best cities to work in (within the U.S.A. or elsewhere around the world) are often the ones with the largest populations. After all, the more residents a city has, the greater diversity of industry it tends to have to support them. And that diversity often allows a large city to keep growing and adding jobs. It can also enable a large city to recover more quickly from economic downturns.

That's why many of the best job opportunities are in America's largest cities. The 25 metropolitan areas below all have populations of more than one million people. As of September 2016, their rates of unemployment are mostly lower than the national average of 4.8 percent.1 (A low unemployment rate is often a sign of a growing economy, especially in large cities.)

Keep in mind that, in each city, many other hot jobs exist beyond the ones listed. Large metropolitan areas frequently generate many job openings for qualified professionals in career sectors as diverse as healthcare, the skilled trades, business, technology, design, the culinary arts, and criminal justice.

1. Salt Lake City, Utah

This city isn't just a beautiful destination for lovers of outdoor recreation; it also provides ample opportunities to earn a good living. In fact, it might be the easiest city to find a job in if you're young and have highly valued skills related to business, finance, technology, healthcare, or biomedical research.

2. Denver, Colorado

The Denver metro area (which includes suburbs like Aurora and Lakewood) is an inspiring place to grow your career. That's especially true when you consider that, every day, the Rocky Mountains serve as a gorgeous backdrop to the city's residents. Plus, Colorado, in general, is one of the best states for jobs, culture, and recreation.

3. Phoenix, Arizona

The Arizona job market is often one of the nation's bright spots thanks to the incredible growth of the Phoenix metropolitan area, which includes places like Mesa and Scottsdale. Not only is the cost of living affordable, but the large variety of good-paying career sectors also makes this region worth exploring.

4. Austin, Texas

For creative professionals who enjoy a lively music and arts scene, it's hard to beat the Austin metro area, which includes Round Rock. This part of Texas is very different, in a lot of ways, than the rest of the state. And it has a great reputation for supporting a wide variety of fun and interesting occupations.

  • Projected employment growth (2012 to 2022)—21 percent (statewide)7
  • Unemployment rate—3.5 percent
  • Population—2 million
  • Average yearly wage—$49,560
  • Hot jobsEvent manager, marketing manager, and web designer

5. Dallas, Texas

This huge metro area, which includes Fort Worth and Arlington, continues to attract many established and emerging companies and entrepreneurs. After all, it has almost everything a professional might want, including a relatively low cost of living and great cultural and entertainment amenities.

6. San Antonio, Texas

As a fast-growing metropolis, the San Antonio area is home to many successful companies that create good jobs. It also has an exceptionally low cost of living for a metropolitan area of its size.

7. Seattle, Washington

As what is probably the best city for tech jobs in the scenic American Northwest, Seattle keeps proving that it's a major center for success and innovation. In fact, the Seattle job market is expected to grow quite a bit in the years to come, including in areas like Tacoma and Bellevue.

8. Nashville, Tennessee

Most people know of Nashville as a popular destination for musicians and songwriters. But this high-energy metro area is also a terrific place for many other kinds of young, creative, and business-oriented professionals.

9. Orlando, Florida

For the fun and sunny weather alone, Florida is one of the best states to work in. But the Orlando metro area adds to that appeal thanks to its ability to support a lot of reliable and interesting jobs in tourism, business, and many other sectors.

10. Jacksonville, Florida

Many young and established professionals consider this city an ideal place to live and work. Beyond great beaches and exciting cultural options, the Jacksonville area offers a low cost of living and several good industries.

11. Tampa, Florida

The Tampa metro area, which includes Clearwater and St. Petersburg, has a thriving business community and a nice variety of industries. Plus, it's relatively affordable and offers a lot of great lifestyle amenities.

12. San Francisco, California

As part of the world-famous and ever-expanding Silicon Valley, San Francisco is often considered the best city for jobs in the high-tech sector. And other parts of the metro area such as Oakland are gaining recognition for supporting high-paying jobs with fascinating and growing companies.

13. Raleigh, North Carolina

Technology and the health sciences are quickly helping this region become known as a center of growth and innovation. But the people who live there also seem to really enjoy it, partly because of terrific housing options and easy access to a wealth of entertainment and recreational amenities.

14. Louisville, Kentucky

This Midwestern metropolitan area, which includes Jefferson County in southern Indiana, is considered by many large companies to be a highly strategic location for their operations. As a result, the economy supports good jobs for both blue- and white-collar workers in a variety of career sectors.

15. Indianapolis, Indiana

With thriving manufacturing, logistics, sports, and technology sectors, this metro area offers something for almost any kind of professional. And the region is home to many great neighborhoods, which help support a high quality of life.

16. Richmond, Virginia

As one of America's most historic yet forward-looking cities, Richmond offers job seekers more than just compelling work opportunities in business and other sectors. It also offers celebrated amenities such as world-class dining, charming neighborhoods, and close proximity to great recreational areas.

17. Virginia Beach, Virginia

Virginia's largest metropolitan area, which includes Norfolk and Newport News, is often considered one of the best places to live in the U.S. Many businesses thrive, and working professionals and their families have access to amazing parks, wilderness areas, and other recreational hot spots.

18. Cincinnati, Ohio

Because of its low cost of living, great neighborhoods, and relatively central location in the Midwest, the Cincinnati region attracts many top employers. As a result, job seekers are often able to find good opportunities in a wide range of industries. Some people even believe that Cincinnati is the best city for IT jobs in the Midwest.

19. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

When it comes to opportunity and affordability, it's hard to beat this city. That's especially true if you're a young professional with marketable skills in areas like business, healthcare, aviation, logistics, or oil and gas. Not only are great jobs available, but the region also boasts many cultural, entertainment, and lifestyle amenities.

20. Columbus, Ohio

This dynamic city provides companies with tremendous access to several different markets. In turn, those employers tend to offer compelling opportunities to job seekers who want to live and work in a fast-growing region that continues to support a large variety of career sectors.

21. Rochester, New York

The Finger Lakes region is home to many advanced career sectors. And the Rochester area is known for providing an exceptional quality of life. In part, that's because it has a small-town feel with plenty of historic charm and picturesque scenery.

22. Washington, D.C.

America's bustling capital region includes cities such as Arlington and Alexandria in the surrounding states of Virginia, Maryland, and West Virginia. Obviously, the federal government is a major employer within this metro area, but thousands of private employers also provide stable and high-paying job opportunities.

23. Milwaukee, Wisconsin

As this metropolitan region continues to transition toward a more innovative, knowledge-based economy, many employers are actively seeking young professionals that have the skills they need. In fact, a lot of the region's high-growth occupations are related to business and technology. But there are also still many opportunities for those who prefer more hands-on work.

24. Boston, Massachusetts

Most people are aware of the Boston area's distinctive charm and amazing art and entertainment options. But this lively and highly cultured part of New England is also home to some of the nation's best employers and most progressive industries.

25. Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota

You'd probably have a hard time finding a metro area with more engaged residents than the Greater Minneapolis-St. Paul region. It keeps attracting recent college graduates, many of whom go on to volunteer, enjoy an affordable cost of living, and build successful careers in modern and creative industries.


Other Large U.S. Cities That Deserve a Mention

The Best Cities for Jobs in 2017Even though they might not make a list of the top 25 places based on the statistical data used above, it's important not to overlook other major urban areas that consistently generate amazing opportunities. For many people, popular metro areas like the ones below represent some of the best cities for jobs.

Las Vegas, Nevada

As America's entertainment capital, Las Vegas might be the best city to work in if you love going out and spending a night on the town. After all, the Las Vegas job market (including areas like Henderson and Paradise) consistently generates many opportunities that can allow you to earn a good living and keep enough money for having fun when you're off.

New York City, New York

How can anyone overlook this world-famous metropolis, which extends to places like Newark and Jersey City? It continues to be a major destination for young professionals who want to make names for themselves in a city that offers almost everything.

Los Angeles, California

Few places around the world can match the sheer geographical size of this sprawling metro area, which includes Long Beach and Anaheim. But that huge size is what helps support a mind-boggling number of job opportunities each year in an incredible range of career sectors. Plus, the Southern California sun helps make almost every day an enjoyable experience.

Buffalo, New York

In this highly enjoyable metropolitan region, which includes Niagara Falls, it's often easy to build a life that you can feel proud of. People who call this area home get to enjoy incredible natural wonders as well as fun entertainment opportunities and a diverse range of advanced industries and employment options.


The 25 Best Small and Midsize Cities in America for Jobs

The Best Cities for Jobs in 2017A large city isn't always the best city to find a job in, especially if you prefer less hustle and bustle. Fortunately, many small and midsize metropolitan regions offer the chance find jobs that are every bit as rewarding as what you can find in larger cities. Sometimes it's even easier to find them in a smaller region. In fact, as of September 2016, most of the metro areas listed below had lower unemployment rates than the larger ones listed above.1

1. Fort Collins, Colorado

These days, Colorado is easily one of the best states to find a job in. Most of the available jobs are along the Front Range, which is the long region that runs north to south immediately east of the Rocky Mountains. The Fort Collins and Loveland area is in the northern part of that region and is often named among America's best places to live and work thanks to ongoing innovation, growth, and a commitment to maintaining a small-town feel.

2. Logan, Utah

This quietly expanding metro area is in the Wasatch Mountains, which means that you can feel like you're getting away from the crowds without giving up on great employment opportunities. In fact, the region is increasingly gaining a reputation as a good place to do business while still providing the opportunity for a laid-back lifestyle.

3. Provo, Utah

With a growing number of high-tech startups, Utah is on its way to becoming the best state for jobs in the technology sector. And the midsize metro area that includes Provo and Orem is emerging as one of the hottest places for that growth. It also happens to be a highly livable region with fantastic outdoor recreational options.

4. Idaho Falls, Idaho

By making it a great community to do business in, the people of this region continue to prove that good jobs can be generated in a place of amazing beauty, quality of life, and small-town charm.

5. Boulder, Colorado

The Boulder and Longmont area is full of smart and highly creative professionals. And new jobs are being created in the area all the time. Plus, this region is known as one of America's best places for healthy living and progressive ideals.

6. Fayetteville, Arkansas

Like other midsize metropolitan regions on this list, the Fayetteville area offers small-town appeal along with growing industries and many emerging opportunities.

7. Lincoln, Nebraska

This city takes pride in knowing that it offers almost endless possibilities. As its skyline grows, so does the number of job opportunities for both young and experienced professionals in an impressive range of thriving industries.

8. Sioux Falls, South Dakota

It might not be a top-of-mind kind of place, but many businesses have discovered that Sioux Falls provides a lot of advantages. As a result, new jobs continue to be created in a friendly region where the cost of living is still relatively low.

9. Grand Island, Nebraska

A community-focused attitude forms the foundation for the growth and success of this centrally located metropolitan area. In Grand Island, the opportunities keep expanding because of the attention paid to forging strong professional relationships.

10. Honolulu, Hawaii

As one of the world's most popular travel destinations, Hawaii is among the states with the most jobs directly related to tourism and hospitality. But you also can't overlook the fact that a place like urban Honolulu generates truly captivating job opportunities in several other career sectors. Plus, few other U.S. locations can match the region's breathtaking beauty and lifestyle possibilities.

11. Rapid City, South Dakota

With close proximity to the Black Hills, this region is full of incredible beauty, amazing outdoor recreational options, and plenty of other amenities that make it a very livable place. Plus, some of the area's industries are experiencing a shortage of skilled workers, which means that opportunities exist across multiple career sectors.

12. Grand Rapids, Michigan

The western Michigan region, which includes Grand Rapids, is a place where many kinds of professionals can get more for their money while enjoying jobs in some of America's top industries. Plus, renewable energy and sustainability are becoming prominent features of the region's ongoing progress.

13. Portsmouth, New Hampshire

Aside from the many job opportunities that are expected to be generated in the coming years, Portsmouth's residents get to enjoy a relaxed and friendly atmosphere in a historic and beautiful seaside setting.

14. Dover, New Hampshire

Along with Durham, Maine, this small metropolitan region is known as a great place for young professionals and their families thanks to its affordability, cultural richness, and walkability.

15. Manchester, New Hampshire

The Greater Manchester area continues to grow and create additional prosperity for its residents while retaining the qualities that make it one of New England's most livable places.

16. Madison, Wisconsin

People who live and work in this job-friendly region tend to enjoy its combination of scenic rural areas and urban lifestyle amenities.

17. Rochester, Minnesota

In this thriving metro area, it's possible to enjoy the advantages of a cosmopolitan lifestyle in a setting that feels like a smaller community.

18. Mankato, Minnesota

As a steadily growing region, Mankato (along with North Mankato) is proving that you don't have to abandon the charm of a friendly community in order to enjoy the greatest benefits of a larger urban center.

19. Bismarck, North Dakota

This vibrant metropolitan region offers a lot more than many people realize. In fact, it frequently gets named among the best places to live and build a career.

  • Projected employment growth (2014 to 2024)—4 percent (statewide)31
  • Unemployment rate—2.2 percent
  • Population—129,517
  • Average yearly wage—$45,450
  • Hot jobsParalegal, property manager, and plumber

20. Fargo, North Dakota

Consistent growth, an affordable cost of living, high quality of life, and a business-friendly atmosphere are all features of this flourishing region.

21. Grand Forks, North Dakota

If you want the security and friendliness of a small town with the amenities and job options of a big city, then you may not have to look beyond this appealing region.

22. Ames, Iowa

In this welcoming region, the commutes are short, the people are friendly, and young professionals are often able to easily balance their career ambitions and personal goals.

23. Portland, Maine

Since many companies in this metro area are enjoying real vitality, it's become a good place for a lot of skilled professionals and entrepreneurs to make a new start.

24. Burlington, Vermont

Residents of the Greater Burlington area have easy access to amazing scenery, outdoor adventure, family-friendly neighborhoods, and opportunities with top employers.

25. Lewiston, Maine

With amazing scenery and a relatively young population that's full of diversity, this metro area (which includes Auburn) continues to attract new residents and employers.

  • Projected employment growth (2014 to 2024)—0.8 percent (statewide)33
  • Unemployment rate—3.2 percent
  • Population—107,233
  • Average yearly wage—$42,030
  • Hot jobsOffice manager, social worker, and project manager

Find a Place Where You Can Grow

The best cities for jobs in your intended career sector may or may not be listed above. But, regardless of the city you end up in, you still may need some additional training in order to take advantage of the best opportunities. So don't hesitate to explore the career-oriented trade schools and colleges where you are right now. Simply enter your current zip code into the following school finder to discover the options near you!



1 Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Local Area Unemployment Statistics, website last visited on November 4, 2016.

2 United States Census Bureau, Population Estimates, website last visited on November 4, 2016.

3 Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment Statistics, website last visited on November 4, 2016.

4 State of Utah, Department of Workforce Services, website last visited on November 4, 2016.

5 Colorado Department of Labor and Employment , website last visited on November 4, 2016.

6 State of Arizona, Office of Employment & Population Statistics, website last visited on November 4, 2016.

7 Texas Workforce Commission, website last visited on November 4, 2016.

8 State of Washington, Employment Security Department, website last visited on November 4, 2016.

9 Tennessee Department of Labor & Workforce Development, website last visited on November 23, 2016.

10 Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, website last visited on November 4, 2016.

11 State of California, Employment Development Department, website last visited on November 4, 2016.

12 North Carolina Department of Commerce, website last visited on November 4, 2016.

13 Kentucky Labor Market Information, website last visited on November 23, 2016.

14 Indiana Department of Workforce Development, website last visited on November 4, 2016.

15 Virginia Labor Market Information, website last visited on November 23, 2016.

16 Ohio Labor Market Information, website last visited on November 4, 2016.

17 Oklahoma Employment Security Commission, website last visited on November 4, 2016.

18 New York State Department of Labor, website last visited on November 4, 2016.

19 DC.gov, Department of Employment Services, website last visited on November 4, 2016.

20 Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development, website last visited on November 4, 2016.

21 Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Labor and Workforce Development, website last visited on November 4, 2016.

22 Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, website last visited on November 4, 2016.

23 Nevada Department of Employment, Training & Rehabilitation, website last visited on November 4, 2016.

24 Idaho Department of Labor, website last visited on November 4, 2016.

25 Arkansas Department of Workforce Services, website last visited on November 4, 2016.

26 Nebraska Department of Labor, website last visited on November 23, 2016.

27 South Dakota Department of Labor and Regulation, website last visited on November 4, 2016.

28 Hawaii Workforce Infonet, website last visited on November 23, 2016.

29 Michigan Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives, website last visited on November 4, 2016.

30 New Hampshire Employment Security, website last visited on November 4, 2016.

31 North Dakota Workforce Intelligence Network, website last visited on November 23, 2016.

32 Iowa Workforce Development, website last visited on November 4, 2016.

33 Maine Department of Labor, website last visited on November 4, 2016.

34 Vermont Department of Labor, website last visited on November 4, 2016.