10 Top Cities for Job Seekers

January 28, 2013 |


It’s not always about what you do, but where you do it — or at least, that’s one way to approach a job search, and the financial website NerdWallet followed this line of thinking in analyzing the 26 biggest cities in the nation to come up with the following list of the ten most promising cities for job seekers.

For the study, data such as population growth between 2010 and 2011 as an indication of overall business growth, local unemployment rates, residents’ median income, and the cost of living were all taken into account. The bottom line? If you’re seeking a city for a bright future, Texas seems to be the place to go, with five of the top ten cities. The worst? Not so surprisingly, Detroit (although median rent there is certainly lower than in any of the places in the top 10).

No. 1: Austin, TX
Population Growth: 3.8%
Unemployment Rate: 6.2%
Median Income: $31,170
Median Rent: $968

No. 2: Washington, DC
Population Growth: 2.7%
Unemployment Rate: 10.2%
Median Income: $43,993
Median Rent: $1,823

No. 3: San Francisco, CA
Population Growth: 0.9%
Unemployment Rate: 8.6%
Median Income: $46,777
Median Rent: $2,702

No. 4: Denver, CO
Population Growth: 3.3%
Unemployment Rate: 9.1%
Median Income: $32,051
Median Rent: $931

No. 5: Houston, TX
Population Growth: 2.2%
Unemployment Rate: 8.2%
Median Income: $26,849
Median Rent: $1,311

No. 6: Fort Worth, TX
Population Growth: 2.3%
Unemployment Rate: 8.0%
Median Income: $24,270
Median Rent: $980

No. 7: Dallas, TX
Population Growth: 2.1%
Unemployment Rate: 8.5%
Median Income: $27,251
Median Rent: $792

No. 8: Seattle, WA     
Population Growth: 2.0%
Unemployment Rate: 7.5%
Median Income: $41,695
Median Rent: $1,417

No. 9: San Antonio, TX
Population Growth: 2.4%
Unemployment Rate: 7.4%
Median Income: $22,333
Median Rent: $823

No. 10: Charlotte, NC
Population Growth: 2.7%
Unemployment Rate: 9.2%
Median Income: $31,667
Median Rent: $790

About Ho Lin

Ho Lin is an editor at Military.com. His interests include naval history, the New York football Giants, and loud rock music.


  1. Erek Doctor says:

    I am looking for a job in DC

    • Pete says:

      Good luck with that. Feds implemented a hiring freeze, fulowed 156k non permanent workers and expected to further cut in April.
      Unemployment rate is over 10% and it is very expensive.

      • Derek says:

        Not to mention "The Beltway 500", some of the worst traffic snarls in thed country, Atlanta's real nasty as well!

  2. Dan says:

    Williston, North Dakota. Largest job boom in the country due to the oil fields.

  3. nelson says:

    Intel analyst position, chemists position

  4. Shay says:

    I’m surprise to see that Texas made several appearances on this list. I live in the jacksonville area and one of the biggest deterrents to attracting young people, which I believe is vital to today’s workforce is that it not very progressive as far as race relations/racism. Jacksonville is often referred to as South Georgia. This is why many young people don’t settle in this area lack of jobs is another. This is not just my opinion I have heard many espically young people black, white, and other make this same complaint. The point I’m trying to make is that form my experience Texas is not very progressive and race relations is just as bad there as it is here. Is there any research available that takes into account diversity, racial, and social cohesion as well as everything else.

    • Mike says:

      Your crazy, I've lived in Jacksonville and currently live in the Houston/Galveston area. I have seen none of what you are talking about, as a matter of fact Houston was not hit that bad during the current recession, yes I said current recession, no matter what the White House tells you we are still in a recession. Houston has not been in a recession, you can still find good paying jobs here if you have the skills for the area.

      • Greg says:

        Houston TX is ranked as #1 in U. S. diversity.

        • Shah says:

          I’m glad to know this I have never been to Houston TX. I have been some places in TX where I have felt completely out of place. I have to say when I talk to a lot of college grads from my area from all walks of life it’s still something that I hear quite a bit. I will look a bit more closely at TX. Thanks for the little bit of info Greg.

    • Natalie says:

      Shay, you have MORE than a valid point. Texas still lives in the JIM CROW mentality. When i was stationed in Fort Hood, I was called the "N" word and I was in uniform!! So while it may seem fiscally prudent to relocate to a state like Texas, be sure to protect yourself. It's a damn shame to have to utter such a warning when you are aiding in maintaining this damned country's safety!

  5. RPR says:

    Should be a big "WHY" in TX, and "WHY", there are jobs here galore, that's if you want to work, —- no mystery here!!

    • orlando says:

      This is absolutely false. Ive lived in houston since birth. Ive never come across racism or discrimination. We have every race and color in texas and those numbers are steadily growing. Job seekers come here because of jobs but stay cause of its culture and diversity.

  6. Larry. says:

    How can anyone afford to pay nearly 3K in rent with a median income of 46777 in San Fran?

    • Jane says:

      They can't–have to have a house full of roommates to share the cost and who wants to live like that?

      • Derek says:

        Spent my 20's, 30's and early 40's in the whole "Communal living" arrangements via USN, glad I did it then so I have a pension now and don't have to babysit slobs, listen to inconsiderate roommates loud music, foul smells, poor or non-existent grooming and hygenie, etc. Sharing spaces with slobs is no fun!

        • vette66 says:

          What? Did they do away with the blanket parties or the shower with the stiff bristle brushes. That guy took a shower everyday after that.

          SSG to AB "What are all those red marks on your arms"? AB to SSG "Sir, I fell down the stairs Sir".

          • jjr says:

            Nope – nowdays that is called "hazing" no matter what the rationale and YOU would face action and separation.

  7. Mike says:

    Fresno California is one of the worst for veterans and people looking for work unemployment is 15%

  8. CJA says:

    Hubby's been looking for a purchasing/materials mgmt/buyer position for 2 years in Fort Worth. He's an older veteran, though. 56. Must be why….sad. Good luck to other younger veterans.

    • Kelly says:

      I'm a Recruiter in the VA area, so I can't help him there. But just make sure his resume is POSTED on websites like Monster, CareerBuilder, LinkedIN, and NCMA (National Contracts Management Association) someone will find him. 56 is not "older" by any means. He will find something soon! Networking and having your resume out there is the most important thing!

  9. Edward says:

    This isn't correct in the slightest. I live in Charlotte NC and I've been looking for a full time permanent job for more than 3 years. I don't have a degree of any kind and if that is what you are basing this survey on then you need to get the facts correct. Not everyone has a degree, the money for one, or the time to get one while trying to make a living in these places the best why they can with what they have. This is so one sided.

    • rm911medic says:

      Look at the median income. If you expect to get that with a high school diploma, or GED than you live in fantasy land. As far as not being able to afford to go to school while making a living, you need to look at that closer and the only person your fooling is yourself. Especially if you are of much lower income it is very feasible to go to school with student loans, grants, other financial aid that is available. First find a career you think you will like, you can do this with the help of books at the public library. Then fins a local college that offers what you are looking for, then go talk to financial aid. You may have to lose the iphone, hot car, and going out every weekend, but it can be done.

      • Edward says:

        You're not telling me anything I don't know. And there are no careers that I like that can be done the way you suggested without moving to a new city without money and hoping you can get the grants and loans to go to school and put yourself farther in debt. The proposal that you laid out is for those who accept anything to get by and be miserable doing just to live in a society that tells you to do the jobs you hate just to live off of because they are convenient for them. Not what you would be happy at doing. What I said is true for every fact I stated. Just because you are willing to accept degrees for whatever or kill yourself working and going to school to learn a career that will not make you happy just to live, doesn't mean that others should.

        • 1stSgt USMC says:

          WIth the 'I can't – the world is against me attitude' that you exude there's no wonder why you don't have a job – probably voted for Obama to keep your gravy train running too – live it up on everybody else's dime instead of knuckling down and making something happen for yourself!

        • vette66 says:

          Edward, living a miserable life for 2 to 4 years to get educated and get a good job is better than living a miserable life the rest of your life. I don't think anyone is buying your "Please help me I'm falling and can't get up story". Took me 16 years to get my degree but now that I'm retired and using my education, I'm making over 100K a year. If your ex military, try the GI bill, if not, use some of the information others gave you to get an education.

    • nino says:

      Wow, dude….. seriously!
      Charlotte is one of, if not, the most progressive city in the southeast. Man, i cant believe you formed your words to say there are no jobs in the Queen City; they may be tough to find, but they are there. I lived in Charlotte for 10 years and i have been away for 5yrs……and with the job market turning around just a little bit faster than the day before, you should have a number of prospects, if not, YOURE NOT LOOKING.

  10. MsLadyL says:

    Most of the cities employment rate avg 8%. Employment is good at 6%. Seems there will still be high competitiveness to secure a job. The article should have listed jobs in demand for those metro areas.

  11. JF Moon says:

    Whoever came up with these statistics must have been inhaling fumes. If you make the medium income in most of these places, after rent there wouldn’t be much left. Maybe enough for Cup of Noodles and dollar burgers.

  12. rsham says:

    Try Omaha, NE: Not in the biggest 26 but in the biggest 50: Unemployment rate – 4.1%, Population growth – 3.2%, Median income – $41889.00, Median Rent $795.00

    • Husker Girl says:

      I am from the Lincoln area originally and have a brother in Gretna. My husband is a property/commercial insurance adjuster and came to the Omaha area to handle claims in 2008 when you had high winds and hail. He was there for over a month and loved it. He lost his job two years ago with travelers ins. (a terrible company to work for) due to new management and has had a time finding a job, due to age and experience, do not want to pay for experience. He has been on hundreds of interviews but no luck. We are now at a place where we are looking at getting out of California so we can look for employment and live on our military retirement. Sad that you put in 30 years supporting our country and can not find a job!!

  13. Silly Article says:

    Listing DC as the #2 "MOST promising cities for job seekers" is simply idiocy. Doing so renders the entire article not just suspect but completely bunk.

    Great work throwing anything at a wall and printing whatever sticks.

    • dtroit says:

      Not surprising that the worst place is Detroit. I will retire there after 31 + years in the military. It is home.
      GO LIONS!!! I think it is so cliche to keep beating the city down. It is an easy target if you believe everything you here. Stay away!! More jobs for me.

  14. Old RetMilitary says:

    there's JOBS EVERYWHERE!!!!!! of course that is IF you actually WANT to WORK!!!!! probably not your "ideal" job….but that's just one reason we (USA) are in the shape we are!!!! People NOT working till they find their DREAM JOB…..
    It's called making a living……. even if you have to work 2 or THREE jobs…to provide for you & your family!!!!! not sit back and let the people that actually HAVE JOBS pay your way!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! not to mention the couple million jobs that would be available IF the FEDERAL GOV would ENFORCE our immigration LAWS!!!!!!!!!!! yeah they're not "dream" jobs……but those that WANT to work would have more opportunity :)

    • milo44 says:

      I'm sorry brother but you're way out of line! Your one of those elitist You don't know the first thing about immigration or job oppurtunity.

      • T. McCargar says:

        I don't think YOU know about immigration……….

      • Str8 shooter says:

        @ OldRetMilitary
        You don’t have the slightest clue, do you? Those immigrant jobs are the ones that Americans don’t want. If those jobs were full by Americans we would not have any jobs for illegals in the first place! Why don’t you go pick the fields or work at fast food. You wouldn’t last a week!

        • Old RetMilitary says:

          YOU guys are all in LA-LA LAND!!!!
          i didn't say they were 3 piece suit jobs…. they are JOBS!!!! Which IF illegals weren't HERE—would have to be done by our CITIZENS…..you call them "immigrant" jobs…. WHY??? they're JOBS…..American's don't WANT them because they can sit home and have KIDS and let all US WORKING STIFFS pay their way!!!!
          why is it so bad that some companies have factory locations outside of the US??? you know those "sweat shops" with KIDS doing the work??? Shouldn't have EVER been let happen!!!!!

      • Str8 shooter says:

        @ OldRetMilitary
        You just stuck your foot in your mouth. How does it taste?

      • Old RetMilitary says:

        I know more than most!!!! I've lived it for over 50 yrs~~~

  15. Dave sanders says:

    Oldretmilitary. Please. Capitalization and overuse of punctuation does not make your comment any more relevant or right. I do not see people who are born and raised lining up for jobs picking strawberries. Of course, they are jobs. They are just very hard jobs that most people don't want to do. If we kicked out all the migrant workers, legal or not, we would never eat fresh fruit against. Ther a a million jobs to be had, but not the proper American education to put Americans into them. Fix the educational system and we would all have jobs. Illegal immigration does not affect most of us in any way. They will not be taking my job when I complete my Master's degree.

    • retrmecwo says:

      If you don't think Illegal immigration affect most of us in any way then you must have your head in the sand.

    • John says:

      Come on Man! Did you watch John Stossel program when he was looking for jobs in NY.. He stood in the unemployment line and talked to numerous people and they said there are no jobs available. Then he went out in a 2 mile radius and found at least 30-40 jobs and talked with the Managers and they said that no one is applying because they can sit home and collect unemployment (that Obama keeps extending).. Jobs are out there its just people are too damn lazy to work when Uncle Obama keeps extending the unemployment and paying them with our tax $$.. Watch the show and you will see for yourself. My son has done some research for jobs and he said there are many more open then just 2 years ago. Old ReMilitary is correct people in America are just lazy and expect the Gov't to pay there way.. The Greatest generation did not get things done like this, and they did not win the war like this.. We all need to learn from them..

      • Old RetMilitary says:

        Thanks John!!! At least there's a few of us still around that have lived through several generations and actually witnessed how LOW society has fallen!!!!!

  16. Tks says:

    Immigrants have a big affect on alot more than just jobs. They can go to school for free. I worked 4 jobs as a single mother. My daughter got a whole $1500 grant, and when she was awarded a scholorship the they decreased the grant WTF. They don’t pay taxes. Get food stamps, place to live cheap. My other daughter with 2 kids who worked FT asked for a little assistance with daycare and food, oh no we can’t help you cause you have a job. And then she decided to go to school to a better paying job. Nope couldn’t help her out there either. They told her to sit at home and do nothing and she could get everything. How about they help the people who are trying to better themselves. I think there should be drug testing on a monthly basis for anyone getting government assistance. The welfare sustem needs a overhaul

    • john says:

      The Welfare system and Unemployment system needs to be overhauled, but as long as Obama is in this will never happen. If you give kids candy they will follow you, if you give dogs a treat they will be your best friend.. If you give people free $$ they will vote for you!! People can't see what's happening to this country when the debt is above $16.5 Trillion, how it is putting our nations security at risk! If it hits at home then they will see it.. For now they just want their free Cell Phone, food stamps and Unemployment or welfare.. Give me some of that Obama money!!

  17. Andy says:

    Been looking for any jobs skill, but none have call.

  18. K D says:

    Plain and simple if a man don't work he don't eat. This includes all of those baby makers that don't take care of their responsibility.

  19. Pastor Jon says:

    Stay away from Orange County CA. Average median income is $85,000 and the cost of living index is 1.45. Rent average is $1,800/mo and gas is $4.15/gal. There are over 3,000 homeless veterans in Orange County. CA state income tax is 9% and sales tax is 8-9%. You cannot afford to live here unless you already have a lot of money.