Where to find a fresh start if you're looking for work

idiarodIf you're fortunate enough to be able to move to find a new job -- meaning you can sell your house and still not owe the bank any money because it's worth less than you bought it for -- then it's a good idea to know where the jobs are.

While unemployment hasn't disappeared anywhere in this country, several states are getting a boost from energy, military and agricultural job openings in the coming months, according to a BusinessWeek.com list of the best places to start over.

Some of the healthiest states on the list are Alaska, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas and Wyoming.

BusinessWeek used survey results from Milwaukee staffing firm Manpower to come up with areas where the greatest proportion of employers said they planned to hire in the third quarter, based on a survey of 28,348 U.S. employers in April.

One of my favorite cities, Salinas, Calif., isn't on the list of 20, probably because it doesn't have as many expected job openings. Salinas leads the country in well-paying jobs, mostly in the agricultural field. So if you have skills in that field, it still may be a good place to go for a well-paying job.

While I won't detail all 20 of BusinessWeek's best places to start over, here are a few to get you starting to think about where to move in a recession when jobs are scarce:

Anchorage, Alaska, tops the list because 28% of employers said they planned to hire in the third quarter. Urban employers are looking for educated, skilled workers in such areas as military bases, hospitals and the oil industry.

"The probability of getting a job, depending on your qualifications, is probably relatively high here," said Scott Goldsmith, professor of economics at the University of Alaska Anchorage, in the BusinessWeek story. "We haven't been negatively impacted as much as the rest of the country."

Provo-Orem, Utah had 24% of employers saying they planned to hire this quarter. Information technology companies are seeking software engineers.

Amarillo, Texas and other cities in Texas make the state the most popular destination for people relocating, according to online moving-services company Relocation.com. Texas and other states, including Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, North Dakota and Oklahoma are having trouble finding people willing to relocate from areas with faster-paced lifestyles.

Scranton-Wilkes-Barre, Pa.
has 19% of employers planning to hire, and the average home price in January was $86,363. Only 120 miles from New York City, the area is home to the University of Scranton, an international airport, and a popular ski resort.

And Scranton is the fictional home of the TV show "The Office," which should be enough to get job seekers to move there.

Aaron Crowe is a freelance journalist in the San Francisco Bay Area. Reach him at www.AaronCrowe.net

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