The Best Cities For Job Seekers To Land A Job Right Now

Kathy Morris
by Kathy Morris
Rankings - 3 months ago

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Across the country, millions are unemployed.

While many are looking for their next job locally, others are casting a wider net and ready to relocate for the right position. But in this vast, varying country, where is the best place to land a job? Better yet, where is the best place now in this new, different job market?

We analyzed the data to find the cities with the least competition for roles, best paying positions, and most stable industries.

The Best Cities For Job Seekers In 2020

  1. Madison, Wisconsin
  2. Charlottesville, Virginia
  3. Fargo, North Dakota
  4. California-Lexington Park, Maryland
  5. Rochester, Minnesota
  6. Huntsville, Alabama
  7. Wausau, Wisconsin
  8. Santa Rosa, California
  9. Appleton, Wisconsin
  10. Sheboygan, Wisconsin

Wisconsin cities landed four of the coveted top 10 spots. Other prosperous cities from 2019 maintained their rank and are still excellent places to land a job. Keep reading to see what makes these cities the places to land a job, and where your city landed.

How We Determined The Best Cities For Job Seekers In 2020

We ranked cities 360 cities 1-to-360 in four areas:

  • Unemployment
  • Essential workers
  • Workers in unstable industries
  • Average household income

To gauge unemployment, we used the most recent unemployment numbers from the BLS. The lower unemployment, the less competition, and the better for job seekers.

However, unemployment numbers trail job loss and don’t always paint a full picture. To better gauge the situation, we then examined each area’s industries using the ACS Census data to determine the types of opportunities available in each location. For essential workers, we added the percent of workers in healthcare, protective services, farming/forestry and other industries that kept trucking during shut-downs. While these positions are not immune to layoffs, they do offer some level of protection.

To determine the amount of workers in unstable industries, we made it pretty simple and examined the amount of restaurant workers and servers in each area. These jobs are usually low paying and were hit hard by Covid shutdowns. Eating out is also a discretionary purchase that gets hit hard in tough economic times. Cities with less workers in these vulnerable positions are in a stronger position to weather the current situation.

Finally, we looked at average household income. After all, no one is chomping at the bits to move for less money.

You can learn a bit more about the 10 best spots to land a job, or keep scrolling to see the full list.

1. Madison, Wisconsin


Source: Dori|GFDL

Household Income: $93,564
March Unemployment: 2.4
Essential Workers:29.60%

Madison, Wisconsin is the best city for job seekers looking for their next job. Household income in this Midwestern city is just under six figures and Madison’s unemployment is only 2.4%. Toss in a high percentage of workers in essential industries and it’s easy to see Mad City has a lot to offer job seekers.

2. Charlottesville, Virginia


Household Income: $104,639
March Unemployment: 3
Essential Workers:30.12%

Charlottesville slipped from it’s #1 spot to #2, thanks to the rise in unemployment. However, #2 is nothing to sneeze at. The city is home to a prosperous middle-class and a smaller percentage than average work in more vulnerable industries. Job seekers should give Charlottesville a look.

3. Fargo, North Dakota


Household Income: $90,720
March Unemployment: 2.7
Essential Workers:33.96%

Fargo, North Dakota is the 3rd best city for job seekers. As of the most recent unemployment numbers, Fargo has some of the lowest unemployment in the nation– only 2.7%. 34% of Fargo workers work in healthcare, protective resources, and natural resources.

4. California-Lexington Park, Maryland

Lexington, MD

Source: Wikipedia

Household Income: $106,262
March Unemployment: 3
Essential Workers:22.66%

California-Lexington Park has a lot to offer those looking to relocate. The main employers in the California-Lexington Park metro area are St. Mary’s College of Maryland and the government, with many residents working as defense contractors.

5. Rochester, Minnesota


Household Income: $94,952
March Unemployment: 3
Essential Workers:45.43%

An impressive 45% of Rochester workers are employed in the essential industries we examined. Combine that with a healthy household income and reasonably low unemployment, and it’s a good spot to find your next job.

6. Huntsville, Alabama


Household Income: $84,048
March Unemployment: 3
Essential Workers:27.24%

Only 4% of Huntsville residents work in the restaurant industry, while 27% work in essential industries. Huntsville’s March unemployment was only 3%.

7. Wausau, Wisconsin


Household Income: $84,462
March Unemployment: 3
Essential Workers:33.18%

Wausau is the second- but not last- Wisconsin city to make our list. Wausau is the main cultivator of American ginseng, and is home to a large granite quarry. These sturdy industries, along with others, help keep the labor force going in Wausau.

8. Santa Rosa, California


Household Income: $108,278
March Unemployment: 4
Essential Workers:41.81%

Santa Rosa has the highest household income of the top 10 at $108,278. Job seekers in Santa Rosa will see a range of jobs in industries more likely to weather economic downturns. While, Santa Rosa’a unemployment is the highest of the top 10– it still has a lot to offer those looking for their next job opportunity.

9. Appleton, Wisconsin


Household Income: $82,092
March Unemployment: 2.8
Essential Workers:26.46%

Appleton, Wisconsin has a 2.8% unemployment rate and a median household income of $82,092– which are pretty good stats for job seekers. When you look at Wisconsin’s affordable cost of living, those stats look even better.

10. Sheboygan, Wisconsin


Household Income: $74,928
March Unemployment: 2.8
Essential Workers:34.63%

Sheboygan is playfully called the “Malibu of the Midwest,” for all it has to offer when it comes to water fun. However, the city is more than a playground, it is a thriving hub with plenty to lure in job seekers. While household income is lower than rival cities, unemployment remains low and the jobs are sturdy.

Closing Thoughts On The Best Cities For Job Seekers

Choosing a new job is complex. Relocating for a new job is even harder.

Cities are more than just their unemployment rates, average incomes, and industries. They are made up of people, communities, activities, and surroundings. An ocean lover, for example, might be very unhappy in city far from the beach, regardless of how great a job they have!

Ultimately, why the top ten cities have a lot to offer job seekers- job seekers should do their research before relocating to find a city that meets all of their needs. Of course, job seekers can also look for a remote job if they love their city, but not the available jobs.

Best Cities For Job Seekers, From Best To Worst

Rank City State
1 Madison WI
2 Charlottesville VA
3 Fargo ND
4 California-Lexington Park MD
5 Rochester MN
6 Huntsville AL
7 Wausau WI
8 Santa Rosa CA
9 Appleton WI
10 Sheboygan WI
11 Burlington-South Burlington VT
12 Grand Rapids-Wyoming MI
13 San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara CA
14 Sioux Falls SD
15 Boise City ID
16 Idaho Falls ID
17 Des Moines-West Des Moines IA
18 Warner Robins GA
19 Rochester NY
20 Roanoke VA
21 Olympia-Tumwater WA
22 Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro OR-WA
23 Staunton-Waynesboro VA
24 Winchester VA-WV
25 Birmingham-Hoover AL
26 Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington MN-WI
26 Jefferson City MO
28 Mankato-North Mankato MN
29 Manchester NH
30 Bloomington IL
30 Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers AR-MO
32 Portland-South Portland ME
33 Provo-Orem UT
34 Harrisonburg VA
34 Spartanburg SC
36 Evansville IN-KY
37 Manhattan KS
38 Enid OK
39 Baltimore-Columbia-Towson MD
39 College Station-Bryan TX
41 Bloomington IN
42 Worcester MA-CT
43 Washington-Arlington-Alexandria DC-VA-MD-WV
44 Vallejo-Fairfield CA
45 Topeka KS
46 Coeur d’Alene ID
47 San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward CA
48 Mount Vernon-Anacortes WA
49 Grand Forks ND-MN
50 Urban Honolulu HI
51 Boston-Cambridge-Nashua MA-NH
52 Lewiston ID-WA
53 Elkhart-Goshen IN
54 Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk CT
54 San Angelo TX
56 Kahului-Wailuku-Lahaina HI
57 Oklahoma City OK
58 Lexington-Fayette KY
59 Janesville-Beloit WI
60 Cedar Rapids IA
61 Naples-Immokalee-Marco Island FL
62 Raleigh NC
62 Green Bay WI
64 New York-Newark-Jersey City NY-NJ-PA
65 Gettysburg PA
66 Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford CT
66 Logan UT-ID
68 Napa CA
69 Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis WI
70 Ogden-Clearfield UT
70 Bismarck ND
72 Hilton Head Island-Bluffton-Beaufort SC
73 Indianapolis-Carmel-Anderson IN
74 Fairbanks AK
75 Bangor ME
76 Great Falls MT
77 Hagerstown-Martinsburg MD-WV
78 Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia NC-SC
79 Winston-Salem NC
80 Pocatello ID
81 Corvallis OR
82 Iowa City IA
83 Tulsa OK
84 Albany OR
85 Charleston-North Charleston SC
85 Tallahassee FL
87 New Haven CT
88 Lawton OK
89 Salt Lake City UT
89 New Bern NC
91 Ann Arbor MI
92 Greenville-Anderson-Mauldin SC
93 Lynchburg VA
94 Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington PA-NJ-DE-MD
94 Kansas City MO-KS
96 Tyler TX
96 Sumter SC
98 Lincoln NE
99 Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach FL
99 St. Cloud MN
101 Abilene TX
102 Kingston NY
103 Greeley CO
104 Lansing-East Lansing MI
105 Baton Rouge LA
106 Anniston-Oxford-Jacksonville AL
107 Sacramento–Roseville–Arden-Arcade CA
108 Trenton NJ
108 Durham-Chapel Hill NC
108 Lancaster PA
111 Wichita KS
112 Bremerton-Silverdale WA
113 Nashville-Davidson–Murfreesboro–Franklin TN
113 York-Hanover PA
115 Valdosta GA
116 Bend-Redmond OR
116 Harrisburg-Carlisle PA
118 Victoria TX
119 Austin-Round Rock TX
120 Eugene OR
121 Kalamazoo-Portage MI
122 Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News VA-NC
123 La Crosse-Onalaska WI-MN
124 Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell GA
125 Omaha-Council Bluffs NE-IA
125 Eau Claire WI
127 Boulder CO
127 Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton PA-NJ
129 Gainesville GA
130 Greensboro-High Point NC
131 Brunswick GA
131 Little Rock-North Little Rock-Conway AR
133 Knoxville TN
133 Monroe MI
135 Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater FL
136 Dothan AL
137 Springfield IL
137 Rapid City SD
139 Dubuque IA
140 Augusta-Richmond County GA-SC
141 Memphis TN-MS-AR
142 Peoria IL
142 Niles-Benton Harbor MI
144 Chambersburg-Waynesboro PA
145 Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario CA
146 North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton FL
147 Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington TX
148 San Diego-Carlsbad CA
148 Auburn-Opelika AL
150 Champaign-Urbana IL
151 Tuscaloosa AL
152 Albany-Schenectady-Troy NY
153 Bloomsburg-Berwick PA
154 Sebastian-Vero Beach FL
154 St. Louis MO-IL
156 Colorado Springs CO
156 Bay City MI
158 Hinesville GA
159 Amarillo TX
160 Danville IL
161 Chicago-Naperville-Elgin IL-IN-WI
161 Jonesboro AR
163 Lawrence KS
163 Fort Smith AR-OK
165 Montgomery AL
166 Santa Cruz-Watsonville CA
166 Denver-Aurora-Lakewood CO
166 Gainesville FL
169 Billings MT
170 Grand Junction CO
171 St. Joseph MO-KS
172 St. George UT
173 Anchorage AK
173 Chattanooga TN-GA
175 Reading PA
176 Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale AZ
177 Daphne-Fairhope-Foley AL
178 Asheville NC
179 Port St. Lucie FL
180 Medford OR
181 Cheyenne WY
182 Florence-Muscle Shoals AL
183 Fond du Lac WI
184 Santa Fe NM
185 Ithaca NY
185 Fort Wayne IN
187 Springfield MA-CT
187 Springfield MO
187 Oshkosh-Neenah WI
190 Decatur AL
191 Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue WA
192 South Bend-Mishawaka IN-MI
192 Ames IA
194 Wilmington NC
194 Utica-Rome NY
196 Pensacola-Ferry Pass-Brent FL
196 Houma-Thibodaux LA
198 Casper WY
198 Syracuse NY
200 Jacksonville FL
200 Clarksville TN-KY
202 Glens Falls NY
203 Louisville/Jefferson County KY-IN
204 Bellingham WA
205 Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton NC
206 Athens-Clarke County GA
207 Sherman-Denison TX
208 Crestview-Fort Walton Beach-Destin FL
209 Cincinnati OH-KY-IN
210 Davenport-Moline-Rock Island IA-IL
210 Terre Haute IN
212 Richmond VA
213 Portsmouth NH-ME
214 Odessa TX
215 Barnstable Town MA
215 Goldsboro NC
217 Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land TX
217 Battle Creek MI
219 Midland TX
220 Reno NV
221 Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim CA
222 Rocky Mount NC
223 Dover-Durham NH-ME
224 Providence-Warwick RI-MA
225 Missoula MT
226 Buffalo-Cheektowaga-Niagara Falls NY
226 Florence SC
228 Carbondale-Marion IL
229 Spokane-Spokane Valley WA
230 Racine WI
231 Scranton–Wilkes-Barre–Hazleton PA
231 Dalton GA
233 Savannah GA
234 Chico CA
235 Fort Collins CO
235 Jacksonville NC
235 Columbia SC
238 Mansfield OH
239 Burlington NC
240 Cape Coral-Fort Myers FL
241 Detroit-Warren-Dearborn MI
242 Joplin MO
243 Elmira NY
244 Norwich-New London-Westerly CT-RI
245 Salisbury MD-DE
246 Waterloo-Cedar Falls IA
247 Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford FL
248 Rome GA
249 Columbia MO
250 Lewiston-Auburn ME
251 Williamsport PA
252 Midland MI
253 Kingsport-Bristol-Bristol TN-VA
254 Jackson MI
254 Bowling Green KY
256 Lebanon PA
257 San Antonio-New Braunfels TX
258 Texarkana TX-AR
259 Pittsfield MA
260 Saginaw MI
261 State College PA
262 Columbus IN
263 East Stroudsburg PA
263 Punta Gorda FL
265 Ocala FL
266 Corpus Christi TX
267 Lafayette-West Lafayette IN
267 Las Cruces NM
269 Wheeling WV-OH
270 Pittsburgh PA
271 Kokomo IN
271 Cleveland TN
273 Cleveland-Elyria OH
274 Jackson TN
275 Hattiesburg MS
276 Kankakee IL
276 Huntington-Ashland WV-KY-OH
278 Lubbock TX
279 Lakeland-Winter Haven FL
280 Brownsville-Harlingen TX
281 Panama City FL
282 Decatur IL
283 Rockford IL
283 Duluth MN-WI
283 Alexandria LA
283 Weirton-Steubenville WV-OH
287 Springfield OH
288 Wichita Falls TX
289 Mobile AL
290 Dayton OH
291 Monroe LA
292 Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach FL
293 Morristown TN
294 Morgantown WV
295 Beaumont-Port Arthur TX
295 Charleston WV
297 Carson City NV
298 Longview TX
299 Muncie IN
300 Johnson City TN
301 Albany GA
302 Longview WA
303 Cape Girardeau MO-IL
304 Elizabethtown-Fort Knox KY
305 Akron OH
306 Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville FL
307 Greenville NC
308 Jackson MS
309 Waco TX
310 Prescott AZ
311 Salem OR
312 Atlantic City-Hammonton NJ
313 Killeen-Temple TX
314 Watertown-Fort Drum NY
315 New Orleans-Metairie LA
316 McAllen-Edinburg-Mission TX
317 Ocean City NJ
318 Toledo OH
318 Fayetteville NC
320 Gulfport-Biloxi-Pascagoula MS
320 Sierra Vista-Douglas AZ
322 Farmington NM
323 Myrtle Beach-Conway-North Myrtle Beach SC-NC
324 Michigan City-La Porte IN
325 Blacksburg-Christiansburg-Radford VA
326 Redding CA
327 Albuquerque NM
328 Flagstaff AZ
329 Youngstown-Warren-Boardman OH-PA
330 Flint MI
331 Muskegon MI
331 Hot Springs AR
333 Tucson AZ
334 Cumberland MD-WV
335 Columbus OH
336 Laredo TX
337 Lake Charles LA
338 Dover DE
339 Pueblo CO
340 Altoona PA
341 Columbus GA-AL
342 Gadsden AL
343 Lake Havasu City-Kingman AZ
344 Lafayette LA
345 Owensboro KY
346 Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise NV
347 Binghamton NY
348 El Paso TX
349 Johnstown PA
350 Erie PA
351 Canton-Massillon OH
352 Shreveport-Bossier City LA
353 Macon-Bibb County GA
354 Homosassa Springs FL
355 The Villages FL
356 Lima OH
357 Parkersburg-Vienna WV
358 Hammond LA
359 Beckley WV
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