The Hottest Job Markets Are in These Mid-Size Cities

Denver, USA - People walking on a pedestrianized street in Denver's LoHi district, located near to the city centre.
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If you’re looking for a job, you might want to steer away from big cities. A new study finds that while the hottest job markets in the U.S. are spread out in five different states, they are all in mid-size cities.

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In partnership with Moody’s Analytics, the new Wall Street Journal study assessed 300 metro areas, measuring five factors: the unemployment rate, labor-force participation rate, job growth, labor-force growth, and wage growth in 2021.

And what they found is that the best job markets are all in cities with a population under 2.3 million. According to the Wall Street Journal, they’re in states with fairly low-income taxes, or none at all, and their climates allow for outdoor activities all year round.

So, which are they?

First, Austin, Texas. The city is becoming a tech hub and “has the highest share of people working or looking for jobs and the highest growth in payroll employment,” according to The Wall Street Journal. It is also becoming a crypto hotspot for hires, according to LinkedIn data, as GOBankingRates previously reported.

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And let’s not forget that Tesla opened a Gigafactory in Austin earlier this month. Oracle also moved its headquarters to the city in 2020.

The Internal Revenue Service is also making a push in the city, saying in March that it is hiring more than 5,000 positions in its service processing centers, including the one located in Austin, as GOBankingRates previously reported.

Next on the list are Nashville, Tennessee; Raleigh, North Carolina; Salt Lake City and Jacksonville, Florida, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Larger cities remained at the bottom of the rankings this year, with New York taking 41st place, Chicago at 40th and Los Angeles at 26th, The Wall Street Journal adds.

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Another interesting finding of the survey is that California and the West Coast dominate the rankings in one area: the fastest-growing salaries. Of the 10 large cities with the fastest wage growth in 2021, six of them were on the West Coast: San Jose, California; San Francisco, Seattle, Fresno, California; San Diego and Los Angeles.

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About the Author

Yaël Bizouati-Kennedy is a full-time financial journalist and has written for several publications, including Dow Jones, The Financial Times Group, Bloomberg and Business Insider. She also worked as a vice president/senior content writer for major NYC-based financial companies, including New York Life and MSCI. Yaël is now freelancing and most recently, she co-authored  the book “Blockchain for Medical Research: Accelerating Trust in Healthcare,” with Dr. Sean Manion. (CRC Press, April 2020) She holds two master’s degrees, including one in Journalism from New York University and one in Russian Studies from Université Toulouse-Jean Jaurès, France.

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