The Top Southern Cities for Jobs Right Now

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Over the last twenty years the Southern U.S. has been one of the best performing regions in the country in terms of job creation, and last year it was the best region for finding a job overall, with 23 of the top 50 job markets and an average unemployment rate of 5.5%.

2015 looks nearly as strong for the Sunbelt, as Texas and Florida lead the South into another year of strong hiring demand and economic expansion. With the Great Recession firmly in the rearview mirror, the recovery of Sunbelt real estate markets (driven by continued in-migration from other parts of the country) combined with dramatically lower business costs in the region have created dynamic economies with expanding workforces.

By analyzing the hiring demand trends in the Sunbelt’s major metro areas, we examine which cities have emerged as the leaders in terms of hiring demand so far in 2015, and which industries saw the greatest growth. Demand in the Trucking/Transportation industry was high overall in the South as a result of prominent manufacturing plants and locations central to major highways. Additionally, trends can be observed toward the IT industry and in the fields of biological research.

The ZipRecruiter Hiring Demand Index is based on relative monthly job growth percentage as measured across the entire country. Higher numbers are better, but because of the scale of the baseline data, all positive increases represent significant hiring demand.

1. Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL – ZipRecruiter Hiring Demand Index: +140.0

Port to Florida’s ‘High Tech Corridor,’ Tampa supports multiple IT firms as well as business service providers. The region is also home to BayCare Health System, a network of major hospitals and the leading community based health system in the area.

Top 5 Industries and their most in-demand position:

2. Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX – ZipRecruiter Hiring Demand Index: +70.0

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Nicknamed the ‘Silicon Prairie,’ this major metroplex boasts the largest Information Technology industry concentration in the state as well as one of the highest numbers of corporate headquarters in the U.S.

Top 5 Industries and their most in-demand position:

3. Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, TX – ZipRecruiter Hiring Demand Index: +47.0

‘Greater Houston’ is one of the most rapidly expanding metropolitan areas in the U.S. It’s home to the largest medical center in the world, the Texas Medical Center, and is a leader in the energy industry with its large petroleum/petrochemical plants.

Top 5 Industries and their most in-demand position:

4. Richmond, VA – ZipRecruiter Hiring Demand Index: +40.0

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The healthcare industry leads in Richmond, where the Virginia Biotechnology Research Park holds a diverse collection businesses including government laboratories and research institutes.

Top 5 Industries and their most in-demand position:

5. Jacksonville, FL – ZipRecruiter Hiring Demand Index: +39.0

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This northern FL city is naturally posited as an economic leader with its thriving port location on the St. John’s River and the Atlantic Ocean. Jacksonville is the transportation and distribution hub in the state, and also enjoys a thriving healthcare sector and established construction and manufacturing industries.

Top 5 Industries and their most in-demand position:

6. Memphis, TN-AR-MS – ZipRecruiter Hiring Demand Index: +38.0

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Trucking and transportation drive this region’s economy. Home to the nation’s 3rd largest trucking corridor and 4th largest inland port, as well as the FedEx headquarters and Memphis International Airport, it’s clear why this city has been dubbed ‘America’s Distribution Hub.’ Healthcare industry is growing in the region as well, propelled by St. Jude’s Research Hospital and the  University of Tennessee Health Science Center.

Top 5 Industries and their most in-demand position:

7. Roanoke, VA – ZipRecruiter Hiring Demand Index: +21.0

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Roanoke’s location promotes a thriving transportation industry and allows the capability for overnight deliveries to most markets in the southeast, northeast, and mid-atlantic. It’s economy is also strongly supported by its manufacturing industry and healthcare sector.

Top 5 Industries and their most in-demand position:

8. Greenville-Mauldin-Easley, SC – ZipRecruiter Hiring Demand Index: +20.0

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Long known as the ‘Textile Capital of the World’ because of its manufacturing prowess, Greenville’s economy has recently seen more rapid growth in its healthcare and engineering industries.

Top 5 Industries and their most in-demand position:

9. Huntsville, AL – ZipRecruiter Hiring Demand Index: +18.0

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Hunstville’s economy is bolstered by its continued development of military and aerospace technology, and it is the center for NASA rocket-propulsion research. The city also supports commercial technology companies and other engineering research.

Top 5 Industries and their most in-demand position:

10. Orlando-Kissimmee, FL – ZipRecruiter Hiring Demand Index: +17.0%

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Though it is known best by its tourist industry, Orlando’s primary hiring industry observed was healthcare. Construction also boomed with projects being developed in the area.

Top 5 Industries and their most in-demand position:

11. Cape Coral-Fort Myers, FL – ZipRecruiter Hiring Demand Index: +14.2

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The Cape Coral economy is based primarily on healthcare, government services, and the retail/hospitality service industry.

Top 5 Industries and their most in-demand position:

12. Durham, NC – ZipRecruiter Hiring Demand Index: +14.1

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Durham’s largest employing company, the Duke University Health System, dictates the industry driving its economy.

Top 5 Industries and their most in-demand position:

13. Greensboro-High Point, NC – ZipRecruiter Hiring Demand Index: +14.0

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Healthcare leads in Greensboro, followed closely by trucking and manufacturing markets that thrive due to the many highways passing through the metroplex.

Top 5 Industries and their most in-demand position:

14. Winchester, VA-WV – ZipRecruiter Hiring Demand Index: +13.0

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The industry experiencing the most demand in Winchester is trucking and transportation, its performance and growth made possible by the region’s highway heavy infrastructure.

Top 5 Industries and their most in-demand position:

15. Spartanburg, SC – ZipRecruiter Hiring Demand Index: +12.0

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Economic is spearheaded by healthcare in this South Carolina city, as well as by multiple businesses and major corporate headquarters downtown that create demand for sales positions.

Top 5 Industries and their most in-demand position:

16. El Paso, TX – ZipRecruiter Hiring Demand Index: +11.0

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Healthcare emerged as the leader in El Paso, followed closely by a steadily growing call center industry.

Top 5 Industries and their most in-demand position:

17. Danville, VA – ZipRecruiter Hiring Demand Index: +9.0

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Danville’s economy has been revitalized in recent years by new manufacturing plants, and a growing demand for transportation to meet the resultant shipping needs has made trucking a leading industry in kind.

Top 5 Industries and their most in-demand position:

18. Lubbock, TX – ZipRecruiter Hiring Demand Index: +8.9

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Nicknamed the ‘Hub City,’ Lubbock is known for its position as the healthcare hub of its region. Its centrality offers support to a number of industries.

Top 5 Industries and their most in-demand position:

19. Mobile, AL – ZipRecruiter Hiring Demand Index: +8.0

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The employer with the greatest hiring demand in Mobile was the healthcare industry. This city also benefits from success in its steel, ship, and aerospace manufacturing.

Top 5 Industries and their most in-demand position:

20. Myrtle Beach-Conway-North Myrtle Beach, SC – ZipRecruiter Hiring Demand Index: +3.0

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Healthcare currently holds the spot of top industry in the Myrtle Beach metro area, followed by a tourist-driven hospitality and retail industry.

Top 5 Industries and their most in-demand position:

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