There may be little diversity in the industries hiring; the cost of living can be high; and the required skill sets can be too specific.
The human resources firm Adecco Staffing U.S. looked at the U.S. cities with the fullest employment, according to the Department of Labor, as well as internal data around job growth and demand–and then determined which areas are the best for finding a job. The ranking reflects considerations such as: the diversity of industries in the city, the cost of living, the range in size of companies offering employment, and high level of education among its residents. All those factors were weighed equally.
“Within the last year, we’ve really seen the number of employment opportunities pick up, and there’s hiring taking place in many sectors,” says Joyce Russell, president of Adecco Staffing U.S. “We’re seeing demand in a number of areas including healthcare, technology, skilled labor and professional and business services. Companies are feeling confident enough in the economy to hire, and we’re also seeing an increasing number of clients opting to hire temporary workers permanently after their contract period ends. These are signs that lead to an overall improvement in the job market in 2013.”
The best place for finding employment right now is the Bethesda, Md. metro area, where the unemployment rate is 5.2%, as of February 2013. That’s 2.5 percentage points lower than the national rate, which was 7.7% in February.
“Bethesda has a very low unemployment rate and has proven to be a major competitor with its highly educated job market and growth in a number of sectors including hospitality and healthcare,” Russell says. “The housing market is doing well and Bethesda often appears on lists ranking most livable cities. Maryland is also ranked No. 1 in the nation for schools, which also feeds into a positive outlook in the area for employment opportunities and a great quality of life.”
The most in-demand skills in the area: Specialty trade contractors, accounting and bookkeeping, and food service and hospitality. The top hiring industries right now? Hospitality, construction, healthcare.
“The growth in construction and hospitality positions are encouraging to local manufacturing and distribution companies as they are optimistic the impact will reflect in their overall bottom-line as well,” says Lisa Imler, Adecco Staffing’s regional vice president of the Chesapeake Region.
The Austin, Texas area, which has an unemployment rate of 5.3%, holds the No. 2 spot. From March 2012 to March 2013, the unemployment level dropped by .7%, indicating that an already strong market is improving.
“Austin has really become known as a great place to live as the city is known for its diversity and cultural activities,” says Kristy Willis, a senior vice president at Adecco Staffing. “This combination has encouraged companies to flock to the area as a high level of local universities ensures a large, highly skilled pool of talent.”
Austin, which is home to the University of Texas and many other higher education institutions, is just one of many college towns in which local businesses do heavy recruiting locally, knowing that there are plenty of educated, talented candidates in the area.
“Healthcare is a major growth area for the Austin area,” says Jennifer Ogas, a senior branch manager at Adecco. “We are seeing a strong demand in support positions in this industry.”
Carlos Vasquez, a divisional operations manager, notes that Austin is a major hub for high technology–and “due to emerging tech companies, there is also strong growth in positions within software and gaming firms.”
No 3. Jacksonville is another example of city with a diverse and highly educated labor force. With unemployment at 6.5%, Jacksonville is seeing the heaviest hiring in higher education, healthcare, IT, food services, transportation and logistics, and government work from the city’s three military bases.
“Jobs are being added in Jacksonville because of the recent addition of several companies and headquarters that are new to the area including finance and manufacturing companies,” says Sam Gillespie, an Adecco branch manager. “The IT job market has been hot throughout the city with the addition of these companies.”
Russell says No. 8 New York City may come as a surprise since it’s such a concentrated and competitive market—“but we continue to see a lot of opportunities,” she explains. “Although the cost of living is likely highest amongst the other top ranking cities, there are so many options for commuters that it’s not an unattainable goal for job seekers. New York City is thriving and there’s a wide range of options for job seekers across different sectors and skill levels.”
What do the top 10 cities have in common?
“In addition to the pure job growth, these cities are booming with new businesses–be it technology start-ups or new manufacturing plants,” Russell says. “When companies move their headquarters to a new city, it’s a time of hope and opportunity for job seekers. These cities offer a well-educated and skilled workforce, which make them attractive to companies seeking to expand or change locations.”
Written by Jacquelyn Smith, Forbes.com