The unemployment rate has been steadily improving for a few years now. The latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows an unemployment rate of 4.9 percent, a figure we haven't seen since 2008. Although there are still some concerns about whether or not pay is also on the rise, the job market seems to be improving – but not everywhere. When it comes to finding a job, some cities offer more opportunity than others.
The job market varies widely by region. To help us better understand this complex landscape, WalletHub recently released a report that examines the current employment picture for the 150 most populated cities in the U.S. They profiled the cities across 17 metrics, some weighted more heavily than others, to determine 2016's Best and Worst Cities to Find a Job.
"Before doing this, we consulted a lot of other studies and surveys done around the same topic," said Jill Gonzalez, an analyst with WalletHub. "We really saw the prevalence on the job market itself (you know, this is a job study) more so than on socioeconomic environment. But, the two are not mutually exclusive. So we did feel like we had to include both of them, but give more of a weight to the job market."
After all the data was compiled, all 150 cities were ranked in terms of the overall picture of their job markets. Let's take a closer look at the four cities that topped the list.
1. Plano, Texas.
When adjusted for cost of living, Plano, Texas has the second highest median annual income of all the cities surveyed. It also has the most affordable housing. These two factors are significant, and they combined to make Plano, Texas the best city to find a job in 2016.
Overland Park is considered a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri, which was ranked 64th in this report. It has a high median annual household income, when adjusted for cost of living, and a high affordable housing ranking as well. While it's hard to divorce Overland Park from the metro area it's situated within, WalletHub did have their reasons for organizing their data in this way:
"To really hone in cities rather than a huge metro area, it's going to make our data a lot more accurate," Gonzalez explained.
3. Austin, Texas.
WalletHub isn't the only organization to dub Austin, Texas a wonderful city to live and thrive in. Austin is quickly gaining an awesome reputation for their arts and entertainment scene, and for the employment opportunities available there. They even boast the world's largest bouldering gym. In addition to their third place ranking in this report, the city was ranked third by WalletHub in their report on 2015's Best and Worst Cities to Start a Career.
4. Irving, Texas.
Irving, Texas was ranked as the single best city to start your career by WalletHub back in 2015. The amount of entry-level positions available there along with high workplace diversity didn't do anything to hurt their ranking in this report either. Employment opportunities are certainly on the rise in this Texas town, along with so many others on this list. When asked why Texas cities dominated the top of this list, Gonzalez said it had to do with a combination of factors:
"First of all, the housing market is so strong there, you can get so much land and a great amount of house really on the cheap right now. So, for new families and even for single people, that is very appealing, and pretty uncommon across the country." Gonzalez also explained that a lot of Fortune 500 companies are based in Texas, and that the overall job market is strong and "the socioeconomic environment is very hard to beat."
For more information, be sure to check out the full report on all 150 cities from WalletHub.
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