In the first of our series of posts exploring the most important job trends of 2014, we take a look at which places in the U.S. are the easiest cities to find a job.
The unemployment rate has finally fallen under 6%, meaning that jobs are easier to find now than at any other time in the last six years. That’s good news, but as with the rest of the long recovery from the Great Recession, the benefits are not evenly distributed, and when you consider that the national average number of applicants per each open job is nearly 300, it’s clear there is still fierce competition for jobs.
Happily, there are U.S. cities that are doing much better than average at creating enough jobs for jobseekers. To gather a list of the top twenty cities where it’s relatively easy to find a job, we looked at anonymized application actions from within our database of millions of job postings, calculated the ratio of job applicants to open positions, and ranked them according to the level of competition.
Here are the Easiest Cities to Find a Job in the U.S.:
With one of the lowest unemployment rates in the U.S. at 3.2%, and a local economy with robust healthcare, tourism and government sectors, jobs are plentiful in the City of Presidents, with .6 applicants per each open position.
2. Duluth, MN
A 4.3 unemployment rate and a rock-solid healthcare sector with roots in the two regional medical centers in the city, Duluth has rebounded from a post-industrial crash to become a job engine, with .9 applicants for each open position.
3. Billings, MT
Once again, the healthcare sector is a key driver of a robust job market in Billings, where a low unemployment rate of 3% and a fairly diverse economy have created a job market where there are just .9 jobseekers for each open position.
4. Bismarck, ND
With a microscopic unemployment rate of 1.9%, even with an ongoing population boom Bismarck is able to keep pace by creating one job for every jobseeker with – once again – the healthcare sector leading the charge.
A state university and its teaching hospital are a potent one-two economic punch for Burlington, which boasts an unemployment rate of 4.3% percent while creating one job for every 1.3 jobseekers.
Another city that receives an economic boost from state university and its medical center, Iowa City has an unemployment rate of just 3.2%, with 1.4 jobseekers vying for each open job.
7. Redding, CA
This northern California town suffered tremendously during the recession, which is reflected in its relatively high unemployment rate of 6.7%. That figure is down more than 50% than its 2010 high, as healthcare and government employment have combined to create one job for every 1.4 jobseekers.
The home of the Mayo Clinic has, unsurprisingly, continued to see strong growth in the healthcare sector, contributing to an unemployment rate of 3.2%. The jobseeker to job ratio of 1.4:1 is already stellar, and a planned expansion of the clinic looks to ensure strong job growth in the foreseeable future.
Education and healthcare are leading economic sectors in this college town in northern Arizona, which has an unemployment rate of 4.6%. Though the ratio of one job opening for every 1.4 jobseekers is already strong, the city is implementing an economic development plan focused on creating high tech and engineering jobs.
10. Portland, ME
A broad-based economy, which includes strong healthcare, finance, and trade sectors, gives Portland an unemployment rate of 4%, and sets a job growth pace that creates a 1.6:1 jobseeker to job ratio.
Here’s the complete list of the top 20 cities:
|City||Jobseekers Per Open Job||Unemployment Rate|
|Rapid City, SD||0.6||3.2%|
|Iowa City, IA||1.4||3.2%|
|St. Cloud, MN||1.6||4.0%|
|Cedar Rapids, IA||1.8||4.6%|
|Jefferson City, MO||1.8||5.1%|
|Cedar Falls, IA||1.8||3.2%|