The Top 10 Western Cities for Jobs

Silicon Valley’s success appears to be rubbing off on the rest of the west, where the tech industry has gained a strong foothold in nearly every major metropolitan area. Tourism continues to supplement prominent industries like agriculture and manufacturing in the region, but the cities that have shown the most post-Recession growth are those devoting resources and investment capital to healthcare and biotech research.

By analyzing the hiring demand trends in the West’s major metro areas, we examine which cities have emerged as the leaders in terms of hiring demand and regional economic growth so far in 2015. These cities are determined by their comparatively low unemployment rate and high number of currently open jobs compared to their population. Top jobs in each city are determined by the highest number of ads currently posted for an individual job title through ZipRecruiter.

1. San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont, CA


Tourism and tech companies like Zendesk, Pinterest, Airbnb, Yahoo, Uber, as well as many others, continue to bolster San Francisco’s economy despite rising real estate costs in the area.

Unemployment: 4.5%

Number of open jobs: 13,993

Top Jobs:

  1. Operating Room Nurse
  2. Store Manager
  3. Customer Service Representative
  4. Journeyman Electrician
  5. Restaurant Server

2. Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ


Arizona’s capital has experienced steady economic expansion since its Recession lows. Diversified manufacturing, IT, and healthcare drive growth, and multiple biotech research centers in the area point to more.

Unemployment: 5.7%

Number of open jobs: 12,208

Top Jobs:

  1. Account Executive
  2. Life Insurance Agent
  3. Master Merchandiser
  4. Caregiver
  5. Event Specialist

3. Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA


Seattle’s $15 minimum wage roll out doesn’t seem to have taken a toll on its overall economic health, as biotechnology and international trade continue to drive profit in the city.

Unemployment: 4.5%

Number of open jobs: 9,769

Top Jobs:

  1. Insurance Agent
  2. Retail Merchandiser
  3. General Manager
  4. Pharmacist
  5. Surgical Technician

4. San Diego-Carlsbad-San Marcos, CA


Once dubbed the ‘Enron by the Sea’ for its depressed economy, San Diego’s last few months have shown tremendous growth in its construction, biotech, and healthcare sectors.

Unemployment: 5.4%

Number of open jobs: 8,794

Top Jobs:

  1. Customer Service Representative
  2. Insurance Agent
  3. Robot Programmer
  4. Registered Nurse
  5. Psychologist

5. San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA

Tech moving south to escape San Francisco’s rising real estate costs has strengthened San Jose’s already solid foothold in the industry. With the upcoming move of California’s Stem Cell Agency from San Francisco to Oakland, San Jose and the southern San Francisco region are poised for continued growth in the biotech industry.

Unemployment: 4.3%

Number of open jobs: 6,049

Top Jobs:

  1. Emergency Room Nurse
  2. Apprentice Electrician
  3. Audio/Visual Technician
  4. Tax Preparer
  5. Law Enforcement Officer

6. Portland-Vancouver-Beaverton, OR-WA


Portland has earned the nickname the ‘Silicon Forest’ for its manufacturing of tech hardware and emphasis on clean, renewable technologies. Access to interstates, international air terminals, and marine shipping, as well as a generally high quality of life have drawn a variety of ventures to Portland and helped to diversify its economy.

Unemployment: 3.2%

Number of open jobs: 5,854

Top Jobs:

  1. Defense Lawyer
  2. Health Insurance Agent
  3. Physical Therapist
  4. Restaurant Manager
  5. Tax Preparer

7. Tucson, AZ


Military is responsible for the majority of employment in Tucson as the home to the Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, and has also led to the development of a healthy high-tech industry in the area.

Unemployment: 6.2%

Number of open jobs: 2,048

Top Jobs:

  1. Insurance Agent
  2. Nurse
  3. Hospital Sitter
  4. Account Executive
  5. Customer Service Representative

8. Santa Rosa-Petaluma, CA


While the cost of living has taken a small toll on its business growth, Santa Rosa continues to thrive as the largest tech hub between Portland and San Francisco.

Unemployment: 4.6%

Number of open jobs: 1,204

Top Jobs:

  1. Registered Nurse
  2. Physical Therapist
  3. Restaurant Manager
  4. Pediatric Nurse
  5. Customer Service Representative

9. Boulder, CO


Science and technology research at the University of Colorado led to major developments in the electronic and aerospace industries, whose resultant boom in growth has created additional expansion in Boulder’s retail and manufacturing industries.

Unemployment: 3.3%

Number of open jobs: 1,037

Top Jobs:

  1. Oral Surgeon
  2. Periodontist
  3. Assembly Worker
  4. Customer Service Associate
  5. Life Insurance Agent

10. Provo-Orem, UT

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The expansion of Google Fiber into Provo has made the area a destination for tech start ups. Education is still the leading industry in the city, with Brigham Young University driving local employment.

Unemployment: 3.6%

Number of open jobs: 1,026

Top Jobs:

  1. Physician
  2. Event Specialist
  3. Customer Service Representative
  4. Truck Driver
  5. Insurance Agent

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Written by

Kylie Anderson is an L.A. based writer covering employment trends for the ZipRecruiter Blog.

More Articles by Kylie Anderson