New Year, New Job: The Best Job Markets for 2018

“Find a job” or “find a better job” frequently appear on lists of most common New Year’s resolutions. Here at ZipRecruiter, we want to wish you a very happy and prosperous new year — and if any of your 2018 resolutions are job-related, we’d like to help you get ahead.

With record-low unemployment at 4.1%, 2017 was a banner year for the job market — and we’re expecting more of the same this year. It’s a good time to be a job seeker!

To find the top job markets that hold the most promise for career opportunities in 2018, we looked at our hiring data on ZipRecruiter in addition to factors such as the availability of jobs, industry diversity, unemployment, earnings, and community – you can find the methodology in the full report below.

So without further ado, here’s the list of the top 10 job markets for 2018:

Let’s take a deeper look at why these ranked top 10:

Fargo, ND

Fargo primarily stands out because of its low unemployment, running at a low 1.6%. When you compare that to the 3.9% unemployment rate for the average metro, that’s a huge difference! Beyond unemployment, Fargo’s opportunity index, the rate of “new collar” jobs (i.e. skilled, well-paying jobs that don’t necessarily require a 4-year college degree), diverse set of industries, short commutes, and retail resilience are each better than 80% of other metro areas.

Columbia, MO

With a steady decline in unemployment over the years, Columbia has experienced steady job growth over the years. A college town sometimes referred to as the “Athens of Missouri,” this city is seeing an increase in industries such as sales and business. It’s also one of the few of the top-ranked cities on this list that is seeing a significant rise in its technology sector.

Oshkosh, WI

Loathe your commute? Stress less in Oshkosh. Aside from a more-than-stellar commute time, the cost of living in this city is one of its major pros as well. Additionally, this economically diverse location thrives in the forest products industry, which produces wood, paper and other tree-based items.

Honolulu, HI

Aside from being one of the most picturesque places on Earth, Honolulu is experiencing industry growth in real estate, law, and construction. If you’re willing to sacrifice a hefty rent to live here, then see what positions these industries have in store.

Ames, IA

Startup software companies such as Workiva Inc., founded their company in Ames in order to attract talent from the neighboring university, Iowa State University, which has strong educational programs in engineering and computer science.

Lincoln, NE

Back in 2016, Wendy Birdsall of Lincoln’s Chamber of Commerce noted that, “Lincoln’s companies laid the foundation for its economy and provide opportunity.” Lincoln’s job market has also been recognized for hiring younger employees and for its collaborative business community which helps the growth of business and entrepreneurs alike.

Lewiston, ID

Located at the intersection of two large rivers, Lewiston is home to the only seaport in Idaho — enabling major, oceangoing ships to reach the town. This has long since made the city a sought-after market for manufacturing, which continues to prevail as its largest industry. But in recent years, Lewiston has also seen a boom in health and educational services, helping contribute to its low unemployment rate.

Des Moines, IA

This city makes it on our list year after year. While there’s a large financial and insurance services base in Des Moines, this year it makes the list for promising job growth in human resources, construction, real estate, information technology, and healthcare.

Wausau, WI

Offering a small community feel, Wausau benefits from its job openings within accounting, sales, and technology. With a lower than average cost of living and a commute time below the national average, working in this city is a great way to save money, time, and gas.

Minneapolis, MN

Minneapolis is a two-time winner, previously making it on ZipRecruiter’s 2017 list of job markets. While its overall rank on the top 10 list went down, Minneapolis still ranks as the highest-scoring large job market due to industry diversity and a lower rate of job competition within a large population.

We also took a further look at which industries were hiring within each market.  

Top 5 Industries for Top 10 Cities by jobs to job seeker ratio:

Fargo, ND 

  • Physical Therapy
  • Construction
  • Human Resources
  • Finance and Insurance
  • Healthcare

Columbia, MO

  • Sales
  • Business
  • Desktop Support
  • Government
  • Technology

Oshkosh, WI

  • Truck Driving
  • Transportation and Storage
  • Healthcare
  • Nursing
  • Business

Honolulu, HI

  • Real Estate
  • Attorney
  • Construction
  • Facilities Maintenance
  • Education

Ames, IA

  • Software
  • Transportation and Storage
  • Business
  • Truck Driving
  • Healthcare

Lincoln, NE

  • Construction
  • Insurance
  • Real Estate
  • Information Technology
  • Desktop Support

Lewiston, ID

  • Healthcare
  • Truck Driving
  • Nursing
  • Transportation and Storage
  • Business

Des Moines, IA

  • Human Resources
  • Construction
  • Real Estate
  • Information Technology
  • Healthcare

Wausau, WI

  • Accounting
  • Healthcare
  • Technology
  • Sales
  • Transportation and Storage

Minneapolis, MN

  • Nutrition
  • Travel
  • E-commerce
  • Construction
  • Nursing

In 2018, it’s time to find the job that will bring you fulfillment, happiness, and room for growth. And as we turn the page to 2018, we can’t wait to help you get there.

At ZipRecruiter, one of our biggest New Year’s resolutions is combatting the dreaded “black hole” of the job search process (i.e. when you apply for jobs and never hear back). That’s why we’re making sure you know you exactly where you stand throughout your job search — whether it’s by notifying you when your application has been submitted, or when your resume has been viewed.

So as we task ourselves with defeating the “black hole” in 2018, here are some mini-resolutions you can also take on to ensure your job search is more seamless and successful than ever this year:

Brand yourself – Identify your key strengths as an applicant and ensure that those strengths — as well as your personality — shine through your resume, interviews, and social channels.

Practice quality over quantity – It’s better to be especially well-versed and well-rehearsed on a few of your best qualities and job experiences, as opposed to listing off dozens. If there’s a certain experience on your resume that seems particularly relevant to a company’s mission or position, then go ahead and elaborate. You can sacrifice the details elsewhere!

Don’t get discouraged – Whether you’re job hunting in your later years, just got laid off, or have heard you’re over- or under-qualified, everyone’s job-hunting experience comes with its own unique batch of challenges. But it’s important to push through, keep your head up, and keep applying. Although it might not always seem like it, the hard work will eventually pay off. We promise!

Start training – In order to stay competitive in today’s (and tomorrow’s) labor market, you might want to start touching-up your STEM skills (science, technology or engineering skills) and your soft skills (communication or service-oriented skills) — the two types of skills least likely to get automated by robots in the near future. In our recent Harris report “State of the American Job Seeker,” we found that the majority of job seekers were self-training to avoid the costs associated with traditional education.

So what are you waiting for? New year, new you, new job!

To see the full analysis of the findings, please click here.

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