Best place to find a job in every state

Written by:
June 27, 2019
Matt Cornock // Flickr

Best place to find a job in every state

There is a lot to be said about location, especially when seeking employment. Of course, living in a sunny state all year round would be great, but if that ideal city chosen has minimal employment then things really don’t look so bright. That is why Stacker looked to personal finance website WalletHub to determine the best place to find a job in every state. 

On Jan. 3, 2019, WalletHub ranked 182 cities, including the 150 most populated in the U.S., plus at least two of the most populated in each state. Each city was evaluated on two aspects, with “job market” weighted four times more heavily than “socio-economics.” Thirty total subcategories, including factors like a city’s job opportunities, average annual income, cost of living, and average commute time were graded on a 100-point scale. Each city’s weighted average across these subcategories determined its final ranking. 

WalletHub’s research only considers “cities proper” for grading and excludes surrounding metropolitan areas. Stacker found that often the best places to find a job in each state are in its capital or most populated city. Along with location, timing is everything and that time is now, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which reported in April 2019 that unemployment rates nationwide were lower in 10 states while stable in 40 states. 

Even the White House concurs, announcing that April 2019 was the 14th consecutive month the unemployment rate remained at or under 4%, and that “nominal average hourly earnings in April rose by 3.2% over the past 12 months, marking the 9th straight month that year-over-year wage gains were at or above 3%.”

With unemployment at an all-time low and pay raises being recorded across many markets, finding employment with decent wages is looking good for Americans. If location and timing are everything, the following cities should be some of the first to consider if relocation is on the horizon anytime soon. 

Read on to find out the best place to find a job in every state.

You may also like: 75 best cities to find a job

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Bernard Spragg. NZ // Flickr

Alaska: Juneau

- Job market national rank: #144
- Socio-economics national rank: #61

Alaska's employment was up .09% from 2018, with more construction, health care, and oil and gas jobs accounting for the rise, according to a 2019 report from Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development. Nestled at the base of Mt. Juneau, Alaska's capital is popular among tourists and locals who keep business booming, which continues to create job growth in the Last Frontier State.

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David Mark // Pixabay

Alabama: Huntsville

- Job market national rank: #64
- Socio-economics national rank: #102

A robust auto manufacturing industry makes this town the best place to find a job in Alabama. The Huntsville Mazda Toyota Manufacturing Plant is one of the most significant area employers, and with Y-tec Keylex Toyotetsu breaking ground on a new site this May, opportunities will continue to grow. The company, which will provide stamping, welding, and automobile assembly services, which Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle says is expected to create another 1,400 jobs in the area.

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Nicolas Henderson // Flickr

Arkansas: Little Rock

- Job market national rank: #51
- Socio-economics national rank: #154

Bureau of Labor Statistics Programs Operations Manager Susan Price said the increase of nonfarm payroll jobs helped set a record high number of new positions in Arkansas. Since April of 2018, there have been 14,300 additional nonfarm payroll jobs in construction, trade, transportation, and utility services, many of which are in Little Rock.

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Joseph Plotz // Wikimedia Commons

Arizona: Scottsdale

- Job market national rank: #2
- Socio-economics national rank: #6

Along with being the best place to find a job in the Grand Canyon State, Scottsdale is also the second-best U.S. city for finding a summer job, according to WalletHub. The New York Times once called the town the “desert version of Miami's South Beach,” which keeps plenty of residents fully employed in the famous clubs and hotels. Additionally, the city houses up to 20% of Arizona's corporate headquarters, which employ thousands of employees year round.

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JaGa // Wikipedia

California: San Francisco

- Job market national rank: #3
- Socio-economics national rank: #25

California's Employment Development Department reports “the Bay Area accounted for 29% of all the jobs added in California during April,” according to a state government report released in May 2019. The northern California cosmopolitan city created 9,600 jobs in January and February of 2019 and then added 12,500 more positions in March, with the San Francisco Business Times listing the three largest regional employers as software management company Salesforce with 8,000 employees, Wells Fargo & Co. with 13,483 workers, and health care system Kaiser Permanente with 58,269 employees.

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David Shankbone // Wikimedia Commons

Colorado: Colorado Springs

- Job market national rank: #6
- Socio-economics national rank: #42

This city at the eastern foot of the Rocky Mountains is creating more jobs than its famed sister city Denver, according to a 2019 ManpowerGroup survey. Ryan Gedney, senior economist with the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment said job growth in the area will continue with wage gains increasing specifically in food services, administrative and waste services, finance and insurance, management, professional and technical services, and real estate.

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Jllm06 // Wikimedia Commons

Connecticut: Bridgeport

- Job market national rank: #164
- Socio-economics national rank: #149

In May 2019 the Bureau of Labor and Statistics reported that Bridgeport's average wage for all selected occupations was higher than the national average. Increased pay, the promise of expanding the local hospital, and building a $350 million resort casino in town help brand historic Bridgeport as the best place to find a job in the Constitution State.

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Tim Kiser // Wikimedia Commons

Delaware: Dover

- Job market national rank: #82
- Socio-economics national rank: #98

WalletHub ranks Dover as the fourth-best city in the nation when it comes to landing a summer job in 2019. Meanwhile the employment search giant is awash in open positions in the city; as of June 2019 more than 2,300 jobs were available on the site.

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Christian Lambert // Unsplash

Florida: Orlando

- Job market national rank: #1
- Socio-economics national rank: #48

If you live in Orlando, chances are you answer to Mickey Mouse. Walt Disney World has been Florida's foremost employer for years and hires more than 74,000 residents in Orlando annually, according to the Business Journal. AdventHealth and Universal Orlando Resort employ another 25,000 workers apiece. Other top area employers include Orange County Public Schools and the University of Central Florida.

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Paul Brennan // Pixabay

Georgia: Atlanta

- Job market national rank: #16
- Socio-economics national rank: #49

The home city of Home Depot, Chick-fil-A, and Cox Industries, Atlanta is the top spot for jobs in Georgia. The state capital also attracts seasonal employment. ManpowerGroup Employment Outlook Survey found that up to 27% of area employers expect to hire more employees from July through September of 2019. More jobs are expected to open up in 13 industries, including transportation, construction, professional and business services, and hospitality.

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Cpl. Jody Lee Smith // Wikimedia Commons

Hawaii: Pearl City

- Job market national rank: #23
- Socio-economics national rank: #87

Not only is Pearl City the best place to find a job in Hawaii, it also happens to be one of America's happiest cities. Coincidence? Maybe not. WalletHub analysts found that even though Pearl City residents spent a considerable amount of time at work, many were well, both physically and emotionally. Two major employers in the Honolulu County town are Aloha Stadium and Pearlridge Center, the state's largest enclosed shopping center.

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Davumaya // Wikimedia Commons

Iowa: Cedar Rapids

- Job market national rank: #90
- Socio-economics national rank: #8

The second-largest city in Iowa, Cedar Rapids features a buzzing technological industry—the city's top employer is aerospace and technology giant Rockwell Collins, which employs nearly 9,000 of Cedar Rapids' residents. With 4.14% of its residents employed in the tech field, it's no wonder that Yahoo Finance included Cedar Rapids on its list of the best American cities to work in tech in 2019.

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Pinpals // Pixabay

Idaho: Boise

- Job market national rank: #52
- Socio-economics national rank: #7

Job seekers looking to make a move might not be in a big hurry to up sticks and head to Boise. After all, the Idaho capital is a bit cold, a bit remote, and a bit small—not what a lot of young people with big dreams are looking for. But this city of just under a quarter million people has some surprises in store. The city's four largest employers collectively provide work for nearly 30,000 people in the health care, tech, education, and military sectors, according to Infogroup

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Pedro Lastra // Unsplash

Illinois: Chicago

- Job market national rank: #149
- Socio-economics national rank: #56

Tens of thousands of Chicago workers are employed by federal, state, and local government agencies in the area, according to Crain's Chicago Business. Additionally, the media outlet reports the city's downtown job growth is at a peak, with the state reporting in 2018 that private-sector, unemployment-insurance-covered jobs grew 16.6% in seven years, totaling 168,000 new positions.

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David Mark // Pixabay

Indiana: Indianapolis

- Job market national rank: #99
- Socio-economics national rank: #165

Salaries and job opportunities are both growing in Indianapolis, according to Indiana Business Review. Health care and social services, traditional constants in any city's employment landscape, still make up the bulk of jobs in Indianapolis, but the transportation and warehousing services industries experienced 12.7% growth in 2018. Other fields driving job growth in the city are retail and accommodation and food services: nearly 200,000 people were employed in these service industries in 2018.

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OverlandParkCC // Wikimedia Commons

Kansas: Overland Park

- Job market national rank: #31
- Socio-economics national rank: #17

A 1.5% job market increase and a predicted 35.5% ten-year future job growth rate make Overland Park, Kansas one of the state's surer bets when it comes to finding a job. These are just some of the positive economic factors in the city highlighted by Residents of Overland Park—which sits adjacent to Kansas City and houses the world headquarters of telecom giant Sprint—have an attractive median income of just over $53,000, and there are more top earners in the city than anywhere else in Kansas.

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Madgeek1450 // Wikimedia Commons

Kentucky: Lexington-Fayette

- Job market national rank: #104
- Socio-economics national rank: #62

New $200 million infrastructure improvements, historic bourbon distilleries, and a thriving food scene continue to attract employers and job seekers to this Kentucky town, according to The Lane Report. The three largest employers here are the state government, the University of Kentucky, and Toyota Motors; these collectively employ more than 32,000 people.

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Spatms // Wikipedia

Louisiana: Baton Rouge

- Job market national rank: #114
- Socio-economics national rank: #139

Like so many other capital cities on the list, this Mississippi River is considered the best place in the state to find work. Industrial and construction projects are pushing the job force and economy forward, according to Louisiana Economic Outlook report, and Baton Rouge will reportedly increase job growth by 1.5% in 2019 and another 1.9% by 2020, totaling more than 14,000 positions.

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Osman Rana // Unsplash

Massachusetts: Boston

- Job market national rank: #7
- Socio-economics national rank: #73

Not only is Boston the best place to find a job in Massachusetts, but according to WalletHub Massachusetts is also the best state in the country for job seekers. Boston beats out all-comers based on the strength of its job market, robust economy, and endless employment opportunities. “They have an education system that is superior to most in the country and prepares people for those jobs—and a huge health care sector that generates so many jobs,” Anna Tavis, WalletHub expert, said in a Bloomberg report.

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Jimmy902 // Wikimedia Commons

Maryland: Columbia

- Job market national rank: #4
- Socio-economics national rank: #5

The beating heart of Howard County, Columbia benefits from one of the best educated workforces in the country and close proximity to Washington D.C., with its myriad corps of contractors, think tanks, and government agencies. Local employers include Howard Community College, branches of Johns Hopkins University, a variety of research and defense institutions, and a growing retail and service industry.

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Alex Boykov // Wikimedia Commons

Maine: Portland

- Job market national rank: #8
- Socio-economics national rank: #36

Portland's top employer, MaineHealth, accounts for more than 10,000 jobs in this cozy New England town. Information technology and manufacturing are the next largest employment sectors, according to U.S. News and World Report, which reported that the city also has a much lower unemployment rate (2.6%) than the U.S. average. Historic lighthouses and miles of beaches also make Portland a popular vacation spot, which provides many jobs in recreation and hospitality services.

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NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory // Flickr

Michigan: Grand Rapids

- Job market national rank: #62
- Socio-economics national rank: #43

Hiring in the Midwest has reached its highest level in almost two decades, found a 2019 ManPower Group survey. Out of 20 U.S. cities, Grand Rapids came in second to Charlotte, N.C., with up to 36% of employers forecasting future hires in 13 different industries. The top three sectors seeing growth are professional and business services, leisure and hospitality, and transportation and utility services.

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Bobak Ha'Eri // Wikimedia Commons

Minnesota: Minneapolis

- Job market national rank: #20
- Socio-economics national rank: #3

Based on four criteria, employment search engine Indeed calls Minneapolis (and its Twin City St. Paul) the sixth best place to find work out of 25 U.S. cities. Job seekers in the area face the least competition while having the lowest chance of unemployment, according to Indeed.

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Christy Ash // Unsplash

Missouri: St. Louis

- Job market national rank: #100
- Socio-economics national rank: #112

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch states the area's job market hasn't looked this good in three years, with the health care, manufacturing, and hospitality sectors leading employment growth. “The 18,700-job gain was more than double the 7,800 jobs added in 2017, and was the St. Louis area's strongest performance since it added 28,100 jobs in 2015,” reports the newspaper. Financial and social assistance services are the next largest industries that make the metropolis on the Mississippi River's western bank a great place to work.

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Ken L. // Wikimedia Commons

Mississippi: Jackson

- Job market national rank: #147
- Socio-economics national rank: #177

Capital cities like Jackson, located in the most populated area of Mississippi, remain the best places to find work in each state. The Jackson County Economic Development Foundation reports the three largest employment sectors that attract work in town are naval shipbuilding, health care, and a petro-chemical refinery. Other major employers that attract workers in the area include AT&T and Walmart.

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Ron Reiring // Wikimedia Commons

Montana: Billings

- Job market national rank: #116
- Socio-economics national rank: #54

As the state's largest city, this southern Montana town was booming with tourism, construction, technology and health care jobs in 2018, according to the Billings Gazette. The Yellowstone County town, which has a 3.3% unemployment rate (0.3% below the national average), also features affordable housing, breathtaking landscapes, and a great craft beer and restaurant scene.

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James Willamor // Wikimedia Commons

North Carolina: Raleigh

- Job market national rank: #68
- Socio-economics national rank: #57

WalletHub rates Raleigh as the best place to find a job in the Tar Heel State, and according to employment search engine Zippia, health care practitioners and the technology sector are the fastest growing local industries, with the computer and mathematical industry coming in second. Zippia ranked these industries based on three criteria— average salary, stress level, and job availability.

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Ethan Kan // Flickr

North Dakota: Fargo

- Job market national rank: #80
- Socio-economics national rank: #13

With more people living in Fargo than any other part of North Dakota, the job industry there is thriving. Bureau of Labor Statistics figures from September 2018 show that Fargo had the 10th best job market in the country while boasting a 2.1% unemployment rate. Additionally, Zip Recruiter reports that the area offers good jobs in dozens of industries that have short commutes.

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JonClee86 // Wikimedia Commons

Nebraska: Omaha

- Job market national rank: #79
- Socio-economics national rank: #14

Omaha is one of many American cities trying to market itself to an increasingly young, tech-savvy, and cosmopolitan job force. This year the city debuted Prosper Omaha 2.0, a five-year, $32 million campaign aimed at creating 250 new tech startups within city limits and bringing at least 10,000 new jobs with salaries at $50,000 to the town, according to

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Jon Platek // Wikimedia Commons

New Hampshire: Nashua

- Job market national rank: #39
- Socio-economics national rank: #18

The New Hampshire Economic and Labor Market Bureau boasts projected job growth for Nashua through 2026, reporting a 5.7% growth expected from 2016. Some positions expected to grow more than others include general and operations managers, customer service representatives, laborers, and material movers. The occupations with “a very favorable outlook,” according to the bureau, include financial managers, software developers, medical assistants, nonfarm animal caretakers, and production workers.

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Bruce Emmerling // Pixabay

New Jersey: Jersey City

- Job market national rank: #157
- Socio-economics national rank: #46

Indeed reports that the job market in Jersey City is stronger than that of the country, with postings rising 14% in the last year compared to the U.S. decline of 32%. As part of the New York City metropolitan area with more than 146,000 jobs listed on Indeed, the northeastern 21 square miles has more jobs than the rest of the Garden State.

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Debernardi // Wikimedia Commons

New Mexico: Albuquerque

- Job market national rank: #143
- Socio-economics national rank: #111

Albuquerque's Kirtland Air Force Base, the University of New Mexico, and Sandia National Laboratory are major employers in the area. Additionally, New Mexico's largest city is now home to NBCUniversal, which promises to bring 330 new jobs in the town during the next decade. Within the 10-year contract, the office of Gov. Lujan Grisham projects the proposed production and filming in the area will create a $1.1 billion economic impact with up to 800 direct and indirect jobs stemming from the settlement.

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debi1016 // Pixabay

Nevada: Reno

- Job market national rank: #67
- Socio-economics national rank: #58

The Milken Institute reported that Reno ranks #11 among the top 25 best-performing large U.S. cities, sharing that job growth in the Nevada city exceeded all others from 2016 to 2017. The manufacturing industry led this growth and is expected to continue with even higher wages. “Construction jobs are ample as a housing shortage increases demand for new buildings,” reports the institute.

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Andrea Cau // Unsplash

New York: New York

- Job market national rank: #85
- Socio-economics national rank: #86

Between 2009 and 2017 up to 702,200 jobs were created in the city, according to Thomas DiNapoli, state comptroller. Sectors that drove job growth the most are technology, health care, tourism, and business and media services. New York City job growth accounted for close to 75% of the state's eight-year job gain of 11.5%, according to the New York Post

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Ynsalh // Wikimedia Commons

Ohio: Cincinnati

- Job market national rank: #81
- Socio-economics national rank: #50

Employment search engine Indeed ranked The Queen City 22nd out of the top 25 U.S. cities in which to find a job in 2019. The Cincinnati Enquirer singles out the best places and industries to work as health care, real estate, and human and social services. As the government seat of Hamilton County, Cincinnati also has hundreds of state and local level jobs in the sector that make it the best place to find a job.

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Jerry Waxman // Pixabay

Oklahoma: Tulsa

- Job market national rank: #103
- Socio-economics national rank: #141

One reason Tulsa is the best place to find a job in Oklahoma is that the city is paying up to $100,000 for remote workers to move there. The U.S News & World Report says that Tulsa's top three industries employ more than 100,000 residents: 64,900 in health care and social assistance, 21,500 in the professional, scientific, and technical services industry, and 31,700 in administrative support and waste management.

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David Mark // Pixabay

Oregon: Portland

- Job market national rank: #24
- Socio-economics national rank: #24

Portland is a great location for STEM (science, tech, engineering, and math) job seekers, according to the State of Oregon Employment Department. Officials say the “total employment in the Portland Tri-County area is projected to grow by 12.7% from 2017 to 2027, but 132 STEM occupations are projected to grow at a rate faster than average.”

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David Mark // Pixabay

Pennsylvania: Pittsburgh

- Job market national rank: #34
- Socio-economics national rank: #2

In 2019 the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry reported historically low unemployment rates and rising paychecks in the western Pennsylvania city, specifically in the leisure and hospitality and construction sectors. The restaurant and hotel industry added 2,900 positions since April 2018, and the construction industry supplied 2,700 new posts. Health and education services in Pittsburgh also added 1,900 new jobs last year.

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Pi.1415926535 // Wikimedia Commons

Rhode Island: Warwick

- Job market national rank: #65
- Socio-economics national rank: #31

Like WalletHub, USA Today ranked Warwick, the second largest city in the state, as the best place to find a job in Rhode Island. From 2013–2018, employment grew from 624,862 to 672,970. Additionally, employment search engine Zippia ranks Warwick, which is less than 20 miles from Providence and 70 miles from Boston, third out of 10 Rhode Island cities with the lowest unemployment rate.

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South Carolina: Charleston

- Job market national rank: #33
- Socio-economics national rank: #26

Charleston, S.C., is high on colonial charm and low on workers, making it an ideal starting point for finding employment in South Carolina. The worker shortage in on-demand industries like trucking and heating and air means that companies are resorting to signing bonuses to attract workers. The local Post and Courier reported that some companies are offering thousands of dollars to new employees.

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Maxpower2727 // Wikipedia

South Dakota: Sioux Falls

- Job market national rank: #119
- Socio-economics national rank: #22

Tiny Sioux Falls depends on a number of large employers for job growth; according to the Argus Leader, the town's major employers are Sanford and Avera Healthcare, Smithfield Foods, and Walmart. Job seekers should also look to the city and local school district for opportunities.

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Tanner Boriack // Unsplash

Tennessee: Nashville

- Job market national rank: #50
- Socio-economics national rank: #105

Tennessee's largest city is also its liveliest for jobs. Home to Vanderbilt University, multiple professional sports franchises, and one of the most famous live music scenes in the country, Nashville is also a great destination for job seekers. A relatively low cost of living combined with thriving employment statistics in the health care, management, engineering, and manufacturing industries makes this Tennessee town a great place for work.

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David Wilson // Flickr

Texas: Plano

- Job market national rank: #5
- Socio-economics national rank: #55

In 2018, Forbes ranked the Dallas-Plano-Irving area as the third fastest-growing city in the U.S. While it continues to grow and add more jobs, U.S. News & World Report notes the headquarters of food giants Frito-Lay and Pizza Hut already attract food service workers, while Toyota's American headquarters also employs thousands.

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Utah: Salt Lake City

- Job market national rank: #38
- Socio-economics national rank: #35

Salt Lake City touts a low unemployment rate; while both state and local government are significant area employers, industries including trade, transportation, and technology also drive the job market. More jobs are expected to grow in the tourism and hospitality industry.

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gargola87 // Wikimedia Commons

Virginia: Virginia Beach

- Job market national rank: #32
- Socio-economics national rank: #37

Firmly lodged in the American psyche as a destination for spring break excess, Virginia Beach isn't often thought of as an employment mecca. Yet the Bureau of Labor and Statistics highlighted the coastal city in a recent report, noting its strong job growth. According to the BLS “Virginia Beach's leisure and hospitality supersector had the second largest increase over the year, adding 2,600 jobs.” Other hot industries in the Virginia party town include manufacturing, transportation, and utilities.

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Beyond My Ken // Wikimedia Commons

Vermont: South Burlington

- Job market national rank: #15
- Socio-economics national rank: #10

Part of the greater-Burlington area, South Burlington is a paradise for job seekers. Situated on Lake Champlain and only minutes from its larger partner town, South Burlington features an unemployment rate of 1.8% and predicted future job growth of 33% over the next 10 years, according to Sperling's Best Places. Major employers include the nearby University of Vermont and its associated medical center, as well as Ben and Jerry's. A large student population ensures a steady stream of service industry positions in this quiet Vermont town.

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Luca Micheli // Unsplash

Washington: Seattle

- Job market national rank: #36
- Socio-economics national rank: #16

The job market in Washington's largest city offers work in a variety of surging industries: Home to Microsoft, Boeing, Starbucks, and Amazon, the Emerald City also hosts the University of Washington's main campus as well as the Lewis-McChord military installation. In June 2019 WalletHub rated Washington as the state with the best overall economy in the nation.

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Wisconsin: Madison

- Job market national rank: #41
- Socio-economics national rank: #4

Wisconsin's capital city boasts a low unemployment rate (2.9%) and can expect to see a hiring surge in late 2019, according to a ManpowerGroup 2019 survey, with 34% of businesses planning to bring in more workers. The average annual salary is well above the national average and the cost of living is slightly below, contributing to Madison's high ranking in the socio-economic portion of this study. The University of Wisconsin and the UW Health Center are two of the area's primary employers.

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Edsel Little // Flickr

West Virginia: Charleston

- Job market national rank: #133
- Socio-economics national rank: #138

The Wall Street Journal's profile of West Virginia's capital called it the city “left behind in a nationwide jobs recovery.” The city's unemployment rate is well above the national average, and a recent surge in construction jobs can be tied to the temporary building of a natural gas pipeline. But the low cost of living and a lack of local, qualified employees can make it more attractive for job seekers.

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Michel Rathwell // Flickr

Wyoming: Cheyenne

- Job market national rank: #127
- Socio-economics national rank: #45

Quality of life in the Equality State's capital city makes it attractive for job seekers. Cheyenne's job market, which ranked 127th in the country, is improving as well. The unemployment rate dipped to 3.5% in April 2019, according to Livability. Over 20% of the workforce is employed in the educational services and healthcare fields.

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