The Best Cities for Jobs in 2019:
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 December 2018.1 Then, we ranked those areas based on their 10-year projected rates of employment growth. In many cases, only statewide projections were available.

For each metropolitan area, we've also included the population (based on U.S. Census Bureau data for 2017, unless otherwise noted).2 In addition, we've included the average yearly wages for each area (based on BLS data from 2017).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 February 2019).


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 December 2018, their rates of unemployment are all lower than the national average of 3.7 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. 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.

3. 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.

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.

5. 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.

6. San Diego, California

Want year-round sunshine and the chance to work and live in a place with amazing professional, cultural, and recreational opportunities? This beautiful and diverse city is a major tourist destination for a reason. But it's also where many people can't resist putting down some roots.

7. San Jose, California

You've heard of Silicon Valley, right? This is where it first got its name. So innovation and opportunity are in this city's DNA. But you don't have to be a tech whiz or a visionary entrepreneur to succeed in this metro area (which includes Santa Clara). In fact, the region supports an impressive diversity of good occupations, as well as great lifestyle amenities.

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. 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.

10. 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.

11. 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.

12. 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.

13. 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.

14. 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.

15. Miami, Florida

Between the great weather, amazing beaches, and vibrant culture, what's not to love? When you also consider the huge range of professional opportunities in this metro area—which includes Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach—it's impossible to ignore the awesome potential you can tap into.

16. 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.

17. 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.

18. 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.

19. Charlotte, North Carolina

When people move to this metropolitan region—which includes Concord and Gastonia—they tend to stay. After all, for a city its size, Charlotte boasts a relatively low cost of living. And along with a growing number of job opportunities, the city's residents enjoy being only a two- or three-hour drive away from breathtaking mountains or terrific beaches.

20. 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.

21. Kansas City, Missouri

This historic city has all the sophistication you might want, yet it still feels down-to-earth. Plus, it's a fun and affordable place to live and work. And all kinds of skilled professionals get to prosper from a growing economy that continues to generate satisfying opportunities.

22. Birmingham, Alabama

Love great restaurants, green spaces, and memorable hospitality? This vibrant city offers all of that and more, but one of the things that really sets it apart is its thriving business community. With more and more jobs being created every year, it's no wonder that skilled and educated professionals continue to call Birmingham home.

23. 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.

24. Hartford, Connecticut

The Hartford region is home to an abundance of successful professionals and tradespeople with all kinds of expertise. They get to enjoy an enriching arts and cultural scene while also being close to the beautiful countryside with its vast recreational opportunities.

25. 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.


Other Large U.S. Cities That Deserve a Mention

The Best Cities for Jobs in 2017Even though they don't currently make the 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.

Seattle, Washington

The Best Cities for Jobs in 2017As 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

  • Projected employment growth (2016 to 2026)—6.5 percent (statewide)13
  • Unemployment rate—3.5 percent
  • Population—1.29 million
  • Average yearly wage—$45,100
  • Hot jobsDrafter, maintenance technician, and IT specialist

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.

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.


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 December 2018, most of the metro areas listed below had lower unemployment rates than the larger ones listed above.1

1. Midland, Texas

This safe, fast-growing community doesn't just offer an abundance of job opportunities; it also offers an expanding range of dining, shopping, recreational, and cultural amenities.

2. 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.

  • Projected employment growth (2016 to 2026)—13.7 percent (statewide)28
  • Unemployment rate—2.2 percent
  • Population—145,643
  • Average yearly wage—$43,570
  • Hot jobsRegistered nurse and IT specialist

3. 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.

4. 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.

5. Charlottesville, Virginia

People continue to fall in love with this small city's beauty, excellent dining options, and cultural and professional opportunities.

6. Staunton, Virginia

As one of America's most scenic and charming mountain towns, Staunton (and nearby Waynesboro) is a dream when it comes to quality of life. But don't let all that beauty make you overlook the tremendous career possibilities in the region.

  • Projected employment growth (2016 to 2026)—10.2 percent (statewide)15
  • Unemployment rate—2.4 percent
  • Population—121,999
  • Average yearly wage—$42,520
  • Hot jobsSchool counselor, business manager, and truck driver

7. Harrisonburg, Virginia

This friendly city is known for supporting good work-life balance, and many people choose to stay and retire here after enjoying so much of the region's cultural and recreational amenities.

8. 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.

9. Iowa City, Iowa

As one of the most livable places in the nation, this city continues to attract talented people and job-creating businesses and organizations.

10. Des Moines, Iowa

This affordable and welcoming city is great for young professionals and career-changers who want meaningful opportunities without some of the disadvantages of other major urban areas.

11. Columbia, Missouri

With thriving sectors like technology, education, and healthcare, the appeal of this diverse, career-friendly city continues to grow.

12. Kahului-Wailuku-Lahaina, Hawaii

The stunning beauty and small-town vibe offered by these areas on Maui provide an amazing backdrop for professionals who are ready to take advantage of all the career opportunities.

13. 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.

14. Sheboygan, Wisconsin

With plenty of thriving middle-class neighborhoods and good employers, this community supports the ambitions of all kinds of career seekers and established professionals.

15. Fond du Lac, Wisconsin

Located at the foot of Lake Winnebago, this welcoming city features a wide variety of recreational options while also supporting a good range of career possibilities.

16. Wausau, Wisconsin

In addition to this city's great waterfront and recreational possibilities, area residents have the opportunity to enjoy numerous entertainment and cultural options when they aren't busy taking advantage of the career-friendly economy.

  • Projected employment growth (2016 to 2026)—6.76 percent (statewide)20
  • Unemployment rate—2.2 percent
  • Population—135,732
  • Average yearly wage—$43,810
  • Hot jobsHeavy equipment operator and project manager

17. Oshkosh, Wisconsin

The Greater Oshkosh area, which includes communities like Neenah, offers a relatively low cost of living, safe neighborhoods, the career and entertainment opportunities of a larger city, and the friendliness of a smaller town.

18. Appleton, Wisconsin

Like several other small cities in Wisconsin, Appleton offers the chance to combine a good career with a great quality of life.

19. Green Bay, Wisconsin

With expanding development, ongoing job growth, and easy access to a huge range of great leisure options, this is a place that many people love to call home.

20. La Crosse, Wisconsin

As one of the best regions along the Mississippi River, the La Crosse area—including Onalaska—provides an appealing range of opportunities in many different industries.

21. 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.

22. 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.

23. 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.

24. 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.

25. Burlington, Vermont

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


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 February 6, 2019.

2 United States Census Bureau, Metropolitan and Micropolitan Statistical Areas Population Totals: 2010-2017, website last visited on February 6, 2019.

3 Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment Statistics, website last visited on February 6, 2019.

4 State of Utah, Department of Workforce Services, website last visited on February 6, 2019.

5 Colorado Department of Labor and Employment , website last visited on February 6, 2019.

6 State of Arizona, Office of Employment & Population Statistics, website last visited on February 6, 2019.

7 Texas Workforce Commission, website last visited on February 6, 2019.

8 State of Washington, Employment Security Department, website last visited on February 6, 2019.

9 Tennessee Department of Labor & Workforce Development, website last visited on February 6, 2019.

10 Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, website last visited on February 6, 2019.

11 State of California, Employment Development Department, website last visited on February 6, 2019.

12 North Carolina Department of Commerce, website last visited on February 6, 2019.

13 Kentucky Labor Market Information, website last visited on February 6, 2019.

14 Indiana Department of Workforce Development, website last visited on February 6, 2019.

15 Virginia Labor Market Information, website last visited on February 6, 2019.

16 Ohio Labor Market Information, website last visited on February 6, 2019.

17 Oklahoma Employment Security Commission, website last visited on February 6, 2019.

18 New York State Department of Labor, website last visited on February 6, 2019.

19 DC.gov, Department of Employment Services, website last visited on February 6, 2019.

20 Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development, website last visited on February 6, 2019.

21 Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Labor and Workforce Development, website last visited on February 6, 2019.

22 Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, website last visited on February 6, 2019.

23 Nevada Department of Employment, Training & Rehabilitation, website last visited on February 6, 2019.

24 Idaho Department of Labor, website last visited on February 6, 2019.

25 Nebraska Department of Labor, website last visited on February 6, 2019.

26 Hawaii Workforce Infonet, website last visited on February 6, 2019.

27 New Hampshire Employment Security, website last visited on February 6, 2019.

28 North Dakota Workforce Intelligence Network, website last visited on February 6, 2019.

29 Iowa Workforce Development, website last visited on February 6, 2019.

30 Vermont Department of Labor, website last visited on February 28, 2018.

31 Missouri Economic Research and Information Center, website last visited on February 6, 2019.

32 Alabama Department of Labor, website last visited on February 6, 2019.

33 Connecticut Department of Labor, website last visited on February 6, 2019.