It is possible to find a great job in today’s economy, even without a 4-year college degree. Companies in nearly every industry are increasingly looking for new collar workers to fill their open positions.
New collar workers are hired for jobs that require vocational, tech, or skills-based training, but not necessarily a bachelor’s degree from a university. The rise of these types of jobs means better work and earning opportunities for millions of people. It also means that new paths are available for anyone who doesn’t think college is the right choice for them.
Finding the Best MSAs for New Collar Jobs
New collar jobs are available in cities throughout the U.S. But as with most things, new collar job opportunities are better in some places than they are in others. We looked to ZipRecruiter data to determine the top 10 best job markets for new collar jobs.
First, we limited our data to the past 30 days to create an up-to-date and precise list. Then, we compared the number of new collar jobs available in each MSA (metropolitan statistical area) and divided that by the number of active job seekers in that same MSA. This determined the opportunity index for each MSA. The MSAs with the highest opportunity indexes are listed below. They’re the places where you’ll probably have the best chance of landing a new collar job, quickly.
Top 10 MSAs for New Collar Jobs
1. Bangor, Maine
Opportunity Index: 51
The MSA with the highest opportunity index is Bangor, Maine. The city of Bangor has a population of only 33,000 people, but the population of the larger metropolitan area is much larger at 154,000. The opportunity index in this MSA is more than double the index of the #2 city, meaning that Bangor is by far the best place to find a new collar job right now.
2. Lewiston-Auburn, Maine
Opportunity Index: 24.3
Located just over 100 miles from Bangor, the Lewiston-Auburn MSA has a population of almost 60,000 people. It’s comprised of the twin cities Lewiston and Auburn and is located along the Androscoggin River.
3. Great Falls, Montana
Opportunity Index: 12
Great Falls is a city in Montana with a population of just under 60,000 people. The MSA is named for the string of five waterfalls that are located close by, and it’s home to a college and university.
4. Glens Falls, New York
Opportunity Index: 11.3
The #4 MSA, Glens Falls, is an area in Upstate New York that includes two counties and is anchored by the city of Glens Falls. The MSA’s total population is around 126,000 people.
5. Michigan City-La Porte, Indiana
Opportunity Index: 10.7
This MSA is located in the northwest corner of Indiana, just miles from Chicago. It has a population of just over 100,000 people, and its close proximity to the midwest’s biggest city makes it an appealing place to live for many.
6. Muncie, Indiana
Opportunity Index: 10
Located almost 200 miles south and east of Michigan City, Muncie is also about 50 miles away from Indianapolis—Indiana’s capital and most populous city. The city of Muncie has a population of about 70,000 people and the MSA has a population of 118,000.
7. Pittsfield, Massachusetts
Opportunity Index: 9.5
The Pittsfield MSA includes all of Berkshire County—the most westward county in the state of Massachusetts. The population of Pittsfield is about 45,000 people, making it the state’s 4th most populous city.
8. Duluth, Minnesota-Wisconsin
Opportunity Index: 7.5
Duluth is a city located on Lake Superior in Minnesota, right along the Wisconsin border. This MSA has a population of 280,000 people, making it the most populous MSA located along the lake. Interestingly, this MSA also made our list of top 10 MSAs for construction jobs.
9. Utica-Rome, New York
Opportunity Index: 6.7
Utica-Rome is the second New York MSA to make our list. This MSA includes two counties located in central New York State and has a population of almost 300,000 people.
10. Hot Springs, Arkansas
Opportunity Index: 6.3
Hot Springs, Arkansas is our #10 best MSA for new collar jobs. Like Duluth, this MSA was also a top 10 MSA for construction jobs. Hot Springs has a population of just under 36,000 people.
From the data, it’s clear that new collar opportunities aren’t just concentrated in one state or region of the country. Instead, these jobs are available throughout the U.S. and in cities of all sizes. Whether you prefer the feel of a small town or a more bustling metro area, there’s an MSA with great new collar opportunities that could be the perfect place for you to launch the next stage of your career.