These Are The 10 Best States In America For Jobs

We took a deep dive into the data to figure out what states deserve a promotion.

By Chris Kolmar
1/30/2019




Just graduated from college and looking for a state to start your career? Or currently working in a job that is unfulfilling and want to jumpstart something new? There are many jobs available, but maybe not in your state.

This time, Zippia is looking at the top 10 best states for jobs so you can know where to start your search.

You may think that the best place for jobs is in the larger states, like New York, California, or Texas, but that isn't necessarily true. In large states, there are many jobs, but there is also a lot of job competition.

And while a job is great, a job that makes a lot of money compared to the cost of living is even better.

So where can you find jobs easily and make a good income?

Here's a quick glance at our top 10 best states for jobs that will give you that amazing job whose salary gives you a massive bang for your buck:

  1. Iowa
  2. Minnesota
  3. Virginia
  4. Nebraska
  5. Oklahoma
  6. South Dakota
  7. Missouri
  8. New Hampshire
  9. North Carolina
  10. Georgia

Did you do a double-take on our #1 best state for jobs? Yup, you read it correctly: Iowa.

The top 10 states for jobs may not be the ones most people think when they think of jobs and money, like Iowa, Minnesota, and Virginia. However, low unemployment, mixed with lower costs of living and steady wage increases creates a powerful boost for any state.

Read on to learn more about how the numbers were crunched and why the top 10 are the best states for jobs in America.

How We Calculated The Best States For Jobs

If you are looking for a good job, you aren't just looking for a good job title. You want a good wage, a job in a city where your wage will cover your expenses, and a job that doesn't have a billion other applicants.

To create our list of top 10 states for jobs, we calculated indexes of several criteria, which include data from the BLS and the American Community Survey:

  1. Improvement in Unemployment Rank Y-o-Y
  2. Current Unemployment Rank (lower is better)
  3. Home To Income Prices (Where your income goes further)
  4. Income Improvements Y-o-Y

We ranked each state for the four criteria, then averaged the criteria ranking for all four. The lower the ranking, the better the states were for jobs.

The lowest 10 ranked states became our 10 best states for jobs in America. Simple enough, right?

Keep reading to see how the states ranked and why they are so great for jobs.

1. Iowa

Iowa|Ia, IA

Population: 3,118,102
Median Income: $56,570
Unemployment Rate: 2%

When people talk about anything, they generally don't talk much about Iowa. And that may just be a grave mistake when talking about jobs.

This state ranked first in our top 10 because they ranked first in home-to-income ratio (your income goes a long way in Iowa), 1.5th in unemployment, and 30th in income. In Iowa, you don't need a massive salary, because the salary you do get is enough for everything you need.

2. Minnesota

Minnesota|Mn, MN

Population: 5,490,726
Median Income: $65,699
Unemployment Rate: 2%

Next up comes Minnesota, the state of breathtaking national parks and Mall of America. In Minnesota, you can spend your well-earned income at America's largest mall to buy some excellent hiking boots… and a few more frappuccinos.

Minnesota comes in second because of their excellent job incomes, low unemployment, and relatively low cost of living.

3. Virginia

Virginia|Va, VA

Population: 8,365,952
Median Income: $68,766
Unemployment Rate: 2%

"Virginia is for lovers," the state boasts. Turns out they are also for job seekers, as they ranked 3rd in our top 10 best states for jobs. Spend the week working at a job you love and take a leisurely ride, or two, on the Blue Ridge Parkway on weekends.

Virginia ranks 12th in income, 7.5th in unemployment, and 21st in home-to-income ratio. So while the cost of living isn't the best of the best, this state has unemployment to a minimum and companies pay well.

4. Nebraska

Nebraska|Ne, NE

Population: 1,893,921
Median Income: $56,675
Unemployment Rate: 2%

This Cornhusker state has a secret and they don't want others in on it: they are a great state for jobs. They even went as far as to create a new state slogan, "Honestly, it's not for everyone," to make people think Nebraska isn't a great location for job-seekers.

Luckily, Zippia knows the truth and we'll tell you why this state is so great. They've got incredibly low unemployment and the incomes in Nebraska are actually really good.

5. Oklahoma

Oklahoma|Ok, OK

Population: 3,896,251
Median Income: $49,767
Unemployment Rate: 3%

Oklahoma, another fly-by state. Maybe one that your cursor shouldn't fly-by when looking for new jobs. Oklahoma is best known for Route 66 and is the state with the most tornadoes. If you are interested in meteorology, this is the state for you.

If not, Oklahoma still has amazing job potential. Oklahoma ranks 5th in home-to-income ratio and has low unemployment. Not bad for this blustery state.

6. South Dakota

South-Dakota|Sd, SD

Population: 855,444
Median Income: $54,126
Unemployment Rate: 3%

If you are interested in working in a state with a state park called Ha Ha Tonka, this is the place for you. Missouri is filled with great places to find new jobs like St. Louis, Kansas City, and Columbia.

Missouri ranks 11th in unemployment and 13th in home-to-income ratio, but 32nd in income. Despite being a little bit higher on the income scale, this state does have some massive perks for cost of living and job availability.

7. Missouri

Missouri|Mo, MO
Source: Public domain

Population: 6,075,300
Median Income: $51,542
Unemployment Rate: 3%

South Dakota is a state that people may gloss over, but probably shouldn't. South Dakota is famous for Mount Rushmore, Badlands National Park, and Custer State Park. Who wouldn't want to work near a mountain with old presidents carved into it?

South Dakota ties with Missouri in its unemployment ranking and ranks 14th for the home-to-income ratio. Not bad for another fly-by state.

8. New Hampshire

New-Hampshire|Nh, NH

Population: 1,331,848
Median Income: $71,305
Unemployment Rate: 2%

Up next comes New Hampshire, a New England state ready to prep you for your next career. New Hampshire is nicknamed the granite state, so if you are looking for a career in mining, this may be the best state for your career.

New Hampshire ranks 3rd for unemployment, 28th for home-to-income ratio, and 8th for income. So although the cost of living can be quite step in New Hampshire, at least the job market is booming.

9. North Carolina

North-Carolina|Nc, NC

Population: 10,052,564
Median Income: $50,320
Unemployment Rate: 3%

North Carolina is best known as the Tarheel State. North Carolina is home to Research Triangle Park, a massive research hub of the south. With Duke and UNC as university research centers and Charlotte as a major banking center, this state has jobs ready for just about anyone.

North Carolina ranks similarly in all three categories: 23rd in income, 23.5th in unemployment, and 24th in home-to-income ratio.

10. Georgia

Georgia|Ga, GA

Population: 10,201,635
Median Income: $52,977
Unemployment Rate: 3%

Last but not least is Georgia, a state peachy keen to give you your next job. Georgia is home to Atlanta, a massive job-metropolis. Georgia is also well known for Savannah's historic waterfront district. Doesn't drinking a nice cold beer while walking down the boardwalk sound like a great end to your work week?

Georgia ranks 33rd in income, 19th in home-to-income ratio, and 21st in unemployment.

Wrapping It Up

So there you have it-- the top 10 best states for jobs. As always, some of the best states in our rankings are some of the more unexpected states. These underdogs have great potential for jobs and their low cost of living helps you boost your career, and savings, from day one.

Does Iowa sound like the place for you? If not, some of the southern states make excellent tourist, and job, destinations. Just think, in North Carolina, you could drive from the beach to the mountains in the same day. What's not to love about that?

Detailed List Of The Best States For Jobs

Rank State
1Iowa
2Minnesota
3Virginia
4Nebraska
5Oklahoma
6South Dakota
7Missouri
8New Hampshire
9North Carolina
10Georgia
12Kansas
11South Carolina
13Wisconsin
14Michigan
15Texas
16North Dakota
17Rhode Island
18Idaho
19Illinois
20Florida
21New Jersey
22Utah
23Pennsylvania
25Hawaii
24Montana
26Massachusetts
27Delaware
28California
29Washington
30Indiana
31Oregon
32New York
33Maine
34Maryland
35Colorado
36Nevada
38Arkansas
37Tennessee
39Ohio
40Vermont
41Connecticut
42New Mexico
43Alaska
44West Virginia
45Wyoming
46Mississippi
47Alabama
48Kentucky
49Arizona
50Louisiana

Past Research & Data

Featured Research

About Zippia

We realized that quite often, people don't know much about their career options, and how to change or advance their career. While we tried our best to mentor them, it was frustrating to know that there were still millions of people out there who we couldn't help.

And then we noticed something else: The internet can answer almost any of our questions today – how to build a house, how to buy a car, or how to find love. But even though choosing a career is one of the most important decisions of our life, there is very little reliable guidance available online.

This is why we decided to build a platform that gives everybody the tools to find the career that is right for them.