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Midsize Cities Top Best Job Market Rankings

The best job markets in the U.S. right now aren’t in the biggest cities, according to The Wall Street Journal (subscription).

  • Instead, you’ll find them in Austin, Texas; Nashville, Tennessee; Raleigh, North Carolina; Salt Lake City, Utah; and Jacksonville, Florida.
  • By contrast, Los Angeles took 26th place; Chicago took 40th; and New York held the 41st spot in the rankings.

What’s the attraction? Each of the top five cities are home to large universities, state capitals or high-tech employers.

  • Other similarities between them include populations under 2.3 million and locations in states with low—or nonexistent—income taxes.

The criteria: To determine the best job markets, The Wall Street Journal, in collaboration with Moody’s Analytics, rated 300 cities based on unemployment rate, labor-force participation rate, job growth, labor-force growth and wage growth in 2021.

The shift: “Many workers left larger cities during the pandemic, seeking out jobs they could perform remotely in smaller, more affordable areas in the South and West. That could reverse, if more employers require in-person attendance and workers return to downtown offices and worksites.”

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