Best Cities To Find A Job In 2012

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cities lowest unemploymentWhich cities have the lowest unemployment rates?

There are many factors that make a city a desirable place to live -- close proximity to family or friends, affordable cost of living, strong real estate market and weather are just a few examples.

Another reason why someone might reside in a specific locale is for career opportunity. While certain areas may have better prospects for specific fields or industries, others are stronger employment markets overall.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, unemployment rates were lower in January than a year earlier in 345 of the 372 metropolitan areas, higher in 16 areas and unchanged in 11. A total of 201 areas recorded January unemployment rates below the U.S. figure of 8.8 percent, 162 areas reported rates above it, and nine areas had rates equal to that of the country.

To get a sense of the cities with job markets that are recovering more quickly than others, here's a list of 13 cities with the lowest unemployment rates as of January 2012.

Caveat: This list is ranked solely on jobless rates; there are a variety of other factors job seekers should consider when determining a good place for employment.


1. Lincoln, Neb.

  • Unemployment rate: 3.8 percent
  • Percent unemployment rate change from year prior: -0.8
  • Mean annual earnings: $39,310

2. Bismarck, N.D.

  • Unemployment rate: 3.8 percent
  • Percent change from year prior: -0.6
  • Mean annual earnings: $39,110

3. Midland, Texas

  • Unemployment rate: 4.1 percent
  • Percent change from year prior: -0.8
  • Mean annual earnings: $44,660

4. Fargo, N.D.

  • Unemployment rate: 4.2 percent
  • Percent change from year prior: -0.4
  • Mean annual earnings: $39,180

5. Ames, Iowa

  • Unemployment rate: 4.3 percent
  • Percent change from year prior: -0.7
  • Mean annual earnings: $42,290

6. Iowa City, Iowa

  • Unemployment rate: 4.4 percent
  • Percent change from year prior: -0.4
  • Mean annual earnings: $44,170

7. Sioux Falls, S.D.

  • Unemployment rate: 4.5 percent
  • Percent change from year prior: -0.9
  • Mean annual earnings: $37,880

8. Logan, Utah

  • Unemployment rate: 4.6 percent
  • Percent change from year prior: -1.1
  • Mean annual earnings: $34,950

9. Burlington-South Burlington, Vt.

  • Unemployment rate: 4.6 percent
  • Percent change from year prior: -1.0
  • Mean annual earnings: $47,420

10. Rapid City, S.D.

  • Unemployment rate: 4.7 percent
  • Percent change from year prior: -1.2
  • Mean annual earnings: $35,330

11. Columbia, Mo.

  • Unemployment rate: 4.8 percent
  • Percent change from year prior: -2.0
  • Mean annual earnings: $37,780

12. Portsmouth, N.H.

  • Unemployment rate: 4.8 percent
  • Percent change from year prior: -0.6
  • Mean annual earnings: $49,050

13. Odessa, Texas

  • Unemployment rate: 4.9 percent
  • Percent change from year prior: -1.9
  • Mean annual earnings: $40,540

*Unemployment rate and mean annual earnings from the Bureau of Labor statistics.



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