The 10 Best Cities And Towns In North Carolina To Get A Job For 2019

By Chris Kolmar
May. 20, 2019

Find a Job You Really Want In

If you’re starting to look for a job in North Carolina, you’ve come to the right place.

You might think off the top of your head that Charlotte or Chapel Hill would be an excellent place to find a job. And while they do offer many opportunities, they aren’t the best in the state according to the data.

Here at Zippia, we aim to answer questions like this using cold hard facts and analysis. So we set our sights on determining the best places in North Carolina to find a job.

The 10 Best Cities For Jobs In North Carolina

  1. Holly Springs
  2. Apex
  3. Cary
  4. Morrisville
  5. Huntersville
  6. Matthews
  7. Mint Hill
  8. Cornelius
  9. Wake Forest
  10. Indian Trail

The 10 Best Towns For Jobs In North Carolina

  1. Oak Ridge
  2. Weddington
  3. Summerfield
  4. Marvin
  5. Pinehurst
  6. Davidson
  7. Stallings
  8. Carolina Beach
  9. Mills River
  10. Clemmons

Holly Springs takes the cake among the biggest cities in North Carolina, while Oak Ridge is bursting with jobs if you’re looking for a slightly smaller place to call home.

How We Determined The Best Places For Jobs In North Carolina

In order to properly compare places, we set a minimum population threshold of 5,000 people.

After getting the data for about 740 places in NC, the population requirement cut out list down to 146 places.

We then split that group into cities over 20,000 people and towns under 20,000 people (but still above 5,000 people). That left 40 cities and 106 towns.

We then ranked each place across a number of criteria from best to worst.

We took the average rank across all criteria, with the place posting the lowest overall score being crowned the winner of the title “Best Place For Jobs In North Carolina” for the cities of its size.

The criteria we looked at were:

  1. Current unemployment rate
  2. Unemployment rate change y-o-y
  3. Current median household income
  4. Median household income change y-o-y

The source of the criteria is the American Community Survey from the Census.

Learn how these cities got to their executive suite status.

The 10 Best Cities For Jobs In North Carolina

1. Holly Springs

Holly Springs, NC

Population: 31,827
Median Income: $101,341
Unemployment Rate: 3.6%

Starting off the top ten in North Carolina is Holly Springs.

In the battle of Raleigh vs. Charlotte, Holly Springs certainly makes a case that the greater Raleigh metro area is doing well, job wise.

Its strong job growth propelled it into its current position. And a median household income in the top ten didn’t hurt either.

2. Apex

Apex, NC

Source: Public domain

Population: 45,899
Median Income: $100,305
Unemployment Rate: 3.9%

Apex finishes second on our list — right ahead of Cary, which is right next door.

With easy access to the jobs in the Research Triangle, Apex boasts high incomes and a low current unemployment rate.

3. Cary

Cary, NC

Population: 159,715
Median Income: $97,755
Unemployment Rate: 3.8%

Cary ranks as our number three overall best place to find a job in North Carolina. It scored well across the board, with highest scores for its unemployment rate and median income.

This city right outside of Raleigh is known as being a great place to live. You can see why; many of its residents have jobs and get paid well for doing them.

If you are thinking of moving to North Carolina, and need to find a hometown that’s growing quickly, we strongly recommend you start your search in Cary.

4. Morrisville

Morrisville, NC

Source: Town of Morrisville

Population: 23,873
Median Income: $95,763
Unemployment Rate: 3.9%

Morrisville has been exploding in the last decade, as tech, retail, pharmaceutical, medical and manufacturing jobs have sprung up around every corner. Centrally located in the Triangle – and near the Raleigh-Durham Airport – helps keep this North Carolina town relevant. Its unemployment rate is far lower than the state average, too.

5. Huntersville

Huntersville, NC

Population: 53,302
Median Income: $93,731
Unemployment Rate: 3.9%

If you live and work in Charlotte, Huntersville is one of the best places you can live. The number of people who are jobless in this part of Mecklenburg County has dropped year-over-year for the past decade.

6. Matthews

Matthews, NC

Population: 30,760
Median Income: $76,007
Unemployment Rate: 3.7%

Another Charlotte suburb, Matthews, is a great place for folks to settle. Here, only 2.9% of residents are unemployed. What’s more impressive are the salary gains among its residents. Sure, the entire U.S. economy is in an upswing, but certain towns see gains more than others.

7. Mint Hill

Mint Hill, NC

Source: Public domain

Population: 25,600
Median Income: $70,906
Unemployment Rate: 3.7%

Tiny Mint Hill certainly has a seen a large gain in its ranking this year. Three years ago, most of the people who knew of Mint Hill were in the greater Charlotte area.

Now, statewide, this part of the Charlotte metro is the bees knees.

8. Cornelius

Population: 28,052
Median Income: $85,908
Unemployment Rate: 4.9%

Cornelius has a slightly higher unemployment rate than many of the other cities on this list. However, the salary growth among its residents is in the top ten for the entire state for cities similar in size.

9. Wake Forest

Wake Forest, NC

Population: 38,473
Median Income: $85,155
Unemployment Rate: 5.4%

Coming in at number 9 on our list is Wake Forest. Not to be confused with the college located in Winston-Salem; Wake Forest is another suburb of Raleigh.

Wake Forest boasts being one of the leaders in North Carolina for two major criteria — median income and median income growth. That’s a winning combination.

The only thing holding Wake Forest back in our analysis is a slightly higher unemployment rate than some of its neighbors.

10. Indian Trail

Population: 37,191
Median Income: $76,438
Unemployment Rate: 5.0%

Combine a slightly lower unemployment rate with a job growth projection above 5%, and you’ve got one great place to move. Most of Indian Hill’s residents are gainfully employed.

The job growth is within Indian Hill, and the greater region.

The 10 Best Towns For Jobs In North Carolina

1. Oak Ridge

Oak Ridge, NC

Population: 6,728
Median Income: $117,200
Unemployment Rate: 2.4%

This town in Guilford County is a great place for job seekers to make home. It’s a Greensboro suburb with a 2.4% unemployment rate – the lowest in the entire state.

2. Weddington

Population: 10,388
Median Income: $133,262
Unemployment Rate: 3.3%

This Charlotte suburb scored exactly the same as Marvin, but with a median household income 10% lower.

3. Summerfield

Summerfield, NC

Population: 10,957
Median Income: $103,700
Unemployment Rate: 3.4%

North Carolina as a whole has exploded in population, as regions such as the Triangle, Charlotte, and now, the Triad, have lured companies from all over the country. Summerfield is one of the communities leading the way in the greater Greensboro region, helping create what’s becoming the state’s third hub for job growth and innovation.

4. Marvin

Population: 6,174
Median Income: $170,500
Unemployment Rate: 4.1%

Marvin takes the fourth spot on our ranking of the best town to find jobs in North Carolina. While it’s the first non-Raleigh suburb on the small towns list, it too is a suburb of a major city — Charlotte.

The unemployment rate is higher than average here, but Marvin shines when it comes to median household income – where it took top overall honors.

5. Pinehurst

Pinehurst, NC

Population: 15,580
Median Income: $81,724
Unemployment Rate: 3.1%

Most know Pinehurst for its world-class golf courses. Odds are if you live in the greater Pinehurst region, you have a great job, and earn a hefty salary.

Of all other Moore County towns, Pinehurst’s residents are about 20% more likely to see job gains and salary increases in the next 5 years.

6. Davidson

Davidson, NC

Population: 12,325
Median Income: $120,658
Unemployment Rate: 4.3%

Many families move to Davidson for the great schools and proximity to jobs. That’s really helped local companies; as the influx of talent continues to pour into this region of western North Carolina, with it has come higher salaries.

The downside? The cost of living is keeping pace with salary gains. It’s pretty expensive to live in this part of the Charlotte metro.

7. Stallings

Population: 14,970
Median Income: $80,601
Unemployment Rate: 3.6%

Stallings, another suburb on the outskirts of Charlotte, ranks as the 7th best town for jobs in North Carolina.

A strong unemployment rate in the top 20%, and a median household income in the top 10% helps Stallings stay toward the front of the pack.

8. Carolina Beach

Carolina Beach, NC

Population: 6,116
Median Income: $61,997
Unemployment Rate: 2.8%

If you want to live near the coast, the Wilmington metro area is probably most sensible. Successful North Carolinians who want the stimulation of scenery and economic explosion can testify the faster the area grows, the harder it is to find a parking spot.

9. Mills River

Population: 7,079
Median Income: $63,387
Unemployment Rate: 3.5%

As Asheville continues to grow and attract talent (and sometimes steal talent away from the Triangle), with it comes jobs and opportunities.

Western Carolina is growing at a clip unheard of in this part of the state – a 5% boost in salaries and a drop of .5% in jobless rates.

10. Clemmons

Clemmons, NC

Source: Public domain

Population: 19,844
Median Income: $71,554
Unemployment Rate: 4.1%

Clemmons has seen a 4% increase in salaries and a 1.5% drop in jobless rates over the last 6 years. It’s definitely one of the up-and-coming cities in the Triad.

Landing The Right Place For A Job

The best places for jobs in North Carolina have one major common attribute — they are all suburbs of major metros. Whether it be the Raleigh and the research triangle or Charlotte, these places use their geographic proximity to big cities to their advantage.

It also means that the American dream of a house in the burbs is also alive and well when it comes to finding a great place to have a job.

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Never miss an opportunity that’s right for you.


Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar is a co-founder of Zippia and the editor-in-chief of the Zippia career advice blog. He has hired over 50 people in his career, been hired five times, and wants to help you land your next job. His research has been featured on the New York Times, Thrillist, VOX, The Atlantic, and a host of local news. More recently, he's been quoted on USA Today, BusinessInsider, and CNBC.

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