These Job Markets Put Living by the Beach Within Reach

As the labor market continues to contract, employers everywhere are having a tough time finding the talent they need, even in some of the most desirable beachside cities in America.

Lots of people want to live on the coast, which is perhaps one reason why the median home price in San Francisco is currently pushing $1.4 million. Though San Francisco is an extreme example, the cost of living by any beach is certainly a barrier to entry, and that barrier is typically relative to the quality of the local job market. The median household income in San Francisco, for instance, is more than $100,000 a year, which is why people are able to sustain living in one of America’s most expensive cities.

Based on data from the ZipRecruiter Job Market Index—which calculates the level of job opportunity, median income, housing affordability, public health, and access to public transit—the ability to live and thrive in a beach town is becoming more accessible to workers who were once limited to mere California dreamin’.

The West Coast dominates our list of the best beachside job markets, with only Jacksonville, North Carolina and Bangor, Maine representing the Eastern Seaboard. San Francisco ranked highest in the index for beachside job markets and has one of the most favorable job-to-applicant ratios among all of the coastal markets featured below.

Opportunity is even higher on California’s Central Coast, where there are three jobs for every applicant and competition is lowest within the well-paying healthcare and technology industries. If you’ve ever dreamed of moving to Hawaii, now may be the time. In June, wages grew 7.5% annually and the median household income is $75,000 a year, which is 30% higher than the national average.

The 10 Best Beachside Cities to Live and Work in 2018

1. San Francisco-Oakland, CA
Jobs per Applicant: 1.4
Top Industry: Sports and Recreation

2. Santa Rosa-Petaluma, CA
Jobs per Applicant: 3
Top Industry: Healthcare

3. Santa Barbara, CA
Jobs per Applicant: 3
Top Industry: Technology

4. Seattle-Tacoma, WA
Jobs per Applicant: 1.8
Top Industry: Healthcare

5. Los Angeles-Long Beach, CA
Jobs per Applicant: 0.75
Top Industry: Food & Beverage

6. Honolulu, HI
Jobs per Applicant: 1.6
Top Industry: Manufacturing

7. Jacksonville, NC
Jobs per Applicant: 0.5
Top Industry: Finance and Insurance

8. Bangor, ME
Jobs per Applicant: 5.5
Top Industry: Transportation and Storage

9. Olympia, WA
Jobs per Applicant: 1.1
Top Industry: Healthcare

10. Bellingham, WA
Jobs per Applicant: 1.1
Top Industry: Healthcare

One caveat to keep in mind, and something employers in these communities ought to heed, is that labor shortages in the top California markets may be the result of migratory patterns. According to the Census Bureau’s latest estimates, California had a net migration loss of about 1,000,000 residents from 2007 to 2016.

Many residents left California during the recession and ensuing recovery as the cost of living continued to increase and wages remained stagnant. As of June this year, California was the only state on this list where wages grew at a slower pace than the national average.

However, the state government’s move to increase the minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2022, and the fact that competition for talent has risen greatly, should cause wages to start growing again.

Methodology: Job market quality was determined using the ZipRecruiter Job Market Index, which calculates a weighted average score for every metropolitan statistical area (MSA) in the U.S. based on the ZipRecruiter Opportunity Index (ratio of active jobs to applicants posted to in the last 30 days), unemployment rate, median household income, median earnings per person, walk score, transit score, public health, and commute time. The top industry for each MSA represents the industry with the greatest number of active job openings to applicants on as determined by the ZipRecruiter Opportunity Index.

Written by

Jeffery Marino is a Los Angeles-based writer who previously covered emerging job market trends using proprietary ZipRecruiter data.

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