The best city in every state for a successful 2018

If you're looking to start a new job or increase your earnings in the new year, some cities provide a better place to do so than others.

To determine the best city in every state for a successful 2018, GOBankingRates examined which cities had the lowest unemployment rates in each state, how much the employment rate is increasing in those cities and how much the average weekly income is rising in each of those locations. Those with the largest increases in employment rate and weekly income were considered the best in each state for potential job seekers.

Want a better-paying job in 2018? Click through to find out which city is the best in your state to find work.

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The best city in every state if you want to be successful
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The best city in every state if you want to be successful

Alabama: Huntsville

Change in employment year over year: 1.9 percent
Change in weekly income year over year: 2.4 percent

Compared with the cities examined in this study, Huntsville has the second-lowest unemployment rate in Alabama. Huntsville topped the state's major cities that were surveyed for highest increase in employment as well as the highest weekly income, with the average earnings at $1,030 per week.

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Alaska: Anchorage

Change in employment year over year: 2.4 percent
Change in weekly income year over year: 5.1 percent

Alaska is one of the states where you're most likely to live paycheck to paycheck, according to a previous GOBankingRates study. But in Anchorage, employment has increased at a rate almost two times higher than that of Alaska's other metro area, Fairbanks. So, Anchorage is the better city for those seeking job opportunities. Weekly income is also on the rise, with average weekly earnings currently at $992. 

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Arizona: Phoenix

Change in employment year over year: 2.5 percent
Change in weekly income year over year: 8.1 percent

The Phoenix metro area has the lowest unemployment rate and the second-highest rate of employment growth compared to the other metro areas in Arizona that were surveyed in this study. The city has also seen a significant increase in weekly earnings, with the average weekly income now at $954. 

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Arkansas: Fayetteville

Change in employment year over year: 5.1 percent
Change in weekly income year over year: 1.9 percent

Fayetteville is the best city in Arkansas for job seekers. The city has the lowest unemployment rate compared to other metro areas in the state as well as the highest increase in employment. A separate GOBankingRates study found that Fayetteville ranks second in the country for metro areas where incomes are growing the fastest. 

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California: San Jose

Change in employment year over year: -0.6 percent
Change in weekly income year over year: 6.8 percent

Although employment is decreasing in San Jose, the city still is tied with Napa for the lowest unemployment rate in California ― 3.8 percent ― compared to other metro areas surveyed. Additionally, San Jose has the highest average weekly income at $1,555. Because that number is on the rise, there is major earning potential for those looking to make more money in 2018

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Colorado: Fort Collins

Change in employment year over year: 6.6 percent
Change in weekly income year over year: 0.3 percent

Colorado is one of the best and worst states if you're unemployed, found a previous study. Of the metro areas across the U.S. featured in this study, Fort Collins has the highest year-over-year employment increase. Additionally, it also has the second-lowest unemployment rate of the cities featured at just 2.1 percent. Among the cities surveyed in Colorado, Fort Collins has the lowest unemployment rate and the highest employment increase. 

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Connecticut: Stamford

Change in employment year over year: 1.9 percent
Change in weekly income year over year: 0.2 percent

In Connecticut, the change in employment hovered around 2 percent throughout the state, so what distinguished the Stamford metro area in our ranking was its relatively low unemployment rate and the fact that weekly income has been increasing. The two cities with lower unemployment rates — Danbury and Norwich — actually experienced a declining weekly income year over year, so they might not be the best places for people looking to increase their earnings. 

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Florida: Crestview

Change in employment year over year: 2.3 percent
Change in weekly income year over year: 16.4 percent

The weekly income is increasing more rapidly in Crestview than in any other metro area in Florida that was included in this study. The city also boasts the lowest unemployment rate in the state compared to the other metro areas surveyed, making it a good place for people to find employment with increased earning potential

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Georgia: Atlanta

Change in employment year over year: 3.1 percent
Change in weekly income year over year: 3.2 percent

Of all the metro areas in Georgia that were surveyed in this study, Atlanta had the third-biggest growth in employment. A separate recent GOBankingRates study found that Atlanta had the third-most job openings in the country, with more than 20,000 positions available.

The city has seen an increase in weekly income, while others in the state have experienced a decrease. 

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Hawaii: Honolulu

Change in employment year over year: 1.1 percent
Change in weekly income year over year: 5.9 percent

Honolulu ranks as the best city in Hawaii to have a successful 2018, thanks to its increasing weekly income. Compared to the Kahului-Wailuku-Lahaina metro area, Honolulu also has a lower unemployment rate and an average weekly income that's $200 higher.

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Idaho: Boise

Change in employment year over year: 1.9 percent
Change in weekly income year over year: 0.5 percent

Boise is one of only two cities in the state that were surveyed in this study where employment is increasing. And while Lewiston has seen the larger growth, Boise tops the list for the best city for success in Idaho, thanks to its higher average weekly income. 

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Illinois: Bloomington

Change in employment year over year: 0 percent
Change in weekly income year over year: 2.1 percent

Bloomington is one of the only cities in Illinois surveyed in this study where both the employment rate and weekly income are not declining. Although employment has been fairly stagnant in the city, its unemployment rate is still the third-lowest in the state of all the metro areas surveyed at 4.5 percent. 

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Indiana: Columbus

Change in employment year over year: 3.1 percent
Change in weekly income year over year: 8.2 percent

Columbus has the second-lowest unemployment rate, the second-highest increase in employment in the state, and the highest average weekly income — $1,163 — compared to the other metro areas in Indiana surveyed in this study. That makes it the best city in the state for those seeking career and financial success. 

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Iowa: Ames

Change in employment year over year: 0.6 percent
Change in weekly income year over year: 13.6 percent

Of the metro areas surveyed in this study, Ames has the lowest unemployment rate in Iowa, and it also is the city where weekly income has increased the most. Although employment is growing at a slow rate, it's one of only three cities in the state included in this survey where employment is growing rather than declining.

A separate GOBankingRates study found that Iowa is the best state for middle-class families, so it's a good place to move for an affordable lifestyle.

See the Full Results: Best and Worst States for the Middle Class 

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Kansas: Manhattan

Change in employment year over year: 1.6 percent
Change in weekly income year over year: 4.9 percent

Manhattan ranks as the best city in Kansas for success in the new year because it has the lowest unemployment rate, biggest increase in employment and the highest increase in weekly income of any of the surveyed metro areas in the state. 

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Kentucky: Bowling Green

Change in employment year over year: 5.5 percent
Change in weekly income year over year: 3.8 percent

Employment is rising in Bowling Green more than in any other city in Kentucky that was surveyed in this study, making it the best place in the state for job seekers. It also has the second-highest increase in weekly income, and the highest average weekly income in the state — $865 — compared to the other surveyed cities. 

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Louisiana: Lake Charles

Change in employment year over year: 2.8 percent
Change in weekly income year over year: -7.1 percent

Although weekly income in Lake Charles is declining, it is the only one of the surveyed metro areas in Louisiana where employment is increasing rather than decreasing. Lake Charles also has the lowest unemployment rate in the state of the included metro areas at 4.3 percent. 

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Maine: Portland

Change in employment year over year: 3.3 percent
Change in weekly income year over year: 6.2 percent

Employment is increasing more in Portland than in any of the other surveyed metro areas in Maine. It also has the lowest unemployment rate of the surveyed cities at 2.8 percent and the highest average weekly income at $885. 

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Maryland: California

Change in employment year over year: 2 percent
Change in weekly income year over year: 20 percent

The weekly income in the city of California is increasing at more than five times the rate that it's rising in any other city in the state that was included in the survey. It also has Maryland's highest average weekly income compared to the other metro areas surveyed in this study at $1,262 — one of the highest average weekly incomes of any of the cities featured in this study. 

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Massachusetts: Boston

Change in employment year over year: 2.9 percent
Change in weekly income year over year: 3.6 percent

The Boston metro area is the best in Massachusetts for a successful 2018, thanks to a number of factors: It has the second-lowest unemployment rate, the second-largest increase in employment and the highest average weekly income compared to the other metro areas in the state surveyed in this study at $1,211.

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Michigan: Ann Arbor

Change in employment year over year: 1.7 percent
Change in weekly income year over year: 8.3 percent

Employment has increased the most in Ann Arbor compared to the other surveyed metro areas in Michigan, and it's one of only two cities in this study where employment is growing by more than 1 percent. Of the cities with the lowest unemployment rates in the state, it has the largest increase in weekly income. It also has the second-highest average weekly income in the state compared to the other metro areas surveyed at $954. 

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Minnesota: Rochester

Change in employment year over year: 1.1 percent
Change in weekly income year over year: 6.2 percent

Rochester has the lowest unemployment rate in the state compared to the other metro areas surveyed in this study at 2.9 percent, and it also has the highest average weekly income: $1,233. 

Photo credit: Getty

Mississippi: Gulfport

Change in employment year over year: 0.3 percent
Change in weekly income year over year: 6.7 percent

Weekly earnings are stagnant or decreasing in Mississippi's other major metro areas that were included in this study, which is why Gulfport is the best place in the state for increasing earning potential. Gulfport also has the highest average weekly income in the state compared to the other metro areas surveyed at $856. 

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Missouri: Columbia

Change in employment year over year: -0.2 percent
Change in weekly income year over year: 6.5 percent

Missouri is a tough place for job seekers, with employment year over year decreasing in every major city in the state that this study examined. However, it's decreasing at a minimal rate in Columbia, which also has the lowest unemployment rate in the state compared to the other metro areas surveyed in this study at 2.8 percent. Additionally, Columbia has the third-highest increase in weekly income in Missouri of the surveyed cities. 

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Montana: Billings

Change in employment year over year: 0.3 percent
Change in weekly income year over year: 8.4 percent

Although employment is increasing at a low rate in Billings, it is the only city in Montana that was surveyed in this study where employment has been rising. Billings also has the largest year-over-year increase in weekly income compared to the other surveyed metro areas in the state. 

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Nebraska: Omaha

Change in employment year over year: 1.1 percent
Change in weekly income year over year: 6.5 percent

Employment is increasing at a rate of about 1 percent throughout the state of Nebraska, so Omaha is on par with the rest of the state. The reason it ranks highest is its high average weekly income of $904, which is over $100 more than in either of the other major metro areas that were surveyed. 

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New Hampshire: Dover

Change in employment year over year: 1.1 percent
Change in weekly income year over year: 1.2 percent

Dover is the only metro area in New Hampshire that was surveyed in this study where the weekly income is increasing, and — even at just 1.1 percent — it has the largest increase in employment in the state of the metro areas GOBankingRates compared. Dover also has a low unemployment rate at just 2.4 percent, which is one of the lowest in the country. 

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Nevada: Las Vegas

Change in employment year over year: 1.4 percent
Change in weekly income year over year: 5.5 percent

Las Vegas is the only city in Nevada that was surveyed in this study where both employment has increased and weekly income has gone up more than 1 percent.

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New Jersey: Trenton

Change in employment year over year: 0 percent
Change in weekly income year over year: -5.5 percent

Trenton has the lowest unemployment rate of the metro areas in New Jersey we surveyed, and it has the highest average weekly income at $1,062. In addition to employment and earning opportunities, Trenton has the most affordable housing compared to other cities featured in this study. The median home list price is only $55,000. 

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New Mexico: Albuquerque

Change in employment year over year: 0.3 percent
Change in weekly income year over year: 3.7 percent

Among the cities surveyed in New Mexico where employment is increasing, Albuquerque has the largest increase in average weekly income. It also has the highest average weekly income in the state at $769. 

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New York: Glens Falls

Change in employment year over year: -0.1 percent
Change in weekly income year over year: 10.5 percent

Glens Falls has the lowest unemployment rate in New York compared to the other metro areas surveyed in this study, and it has the second-highest rate of increase in weekly income compared to the state's other major metro areas that were surveyed.

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North Carolina: Raleigh

Change in employment year over year: 2.8 percent
Change in weekly income year over year: 5.7 percent

Employment is increasing more in Raleigh than in any other metro area surveyed in North Carolina, and the city also has the third-highest increase in weekly income. Raleigh has the second-lowest unemployment rate in North Carolina compared to the other metro areas surveyed in this study at 3.9 percent. 

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North Dakota: Fargo

Change in employment year over year: 1.8 percent
Change in weekly income year over year: 1.2 percent

With a 2 percent unemployment, Fargo is tied with Bismarck for the lowest unemployment rate in the state of North Dakota compared to the other metro areas surveyed in this study. Those two cities have the lowest unemployment rate of any city in the United States that was included in the study. However, only Fargo has both an increasing employment rate and an increasing average weekly income. 

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Ohio: Cincinnati

Change in employment year over year: 3.2 percent
Change in weekly income year over year: 0.6 percent

Cincinnati has the largest growth in employment of any of the metro areas surveyed in this study in Ohio, and it also has the highest average weekly income at $893. It has the second-lowest unemployment rate in the state compared to the other metro areas surveyed in this study at 4.7 percent. 

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Oklahoma: Lawton

Change in employment year over year: -0.4 percent
Change in weekly income year over year: 23.9 percent

The weekly income in Lawton is increasing year over year at a rate higher than almost all other metro areas in the U.S., and at a rate that's more than four times higher than any other metro area in Oklahoma that was included in the study. 

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Oregon: Portland

Change in employment year over year: 3.6 percent
Change in weekly income year over year: 1.5 percent

Portland has the second-lowest unemployment rate in Oregon compared to the other metro areas surveyed in this study at 4.1 percent, and the third-highest rate of employment increase compared to the other metro areas that were surveyed. Of the cities that were compared, it also has the highest average weekly income in the state at $979.

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Pennsylvania: Gettysburg

Change in employment year over year: 1 percent
Change in weekly income year over year: 4 percent

Gettysburg has the lowest unemployment rate in the state compared to the other metro areas surveyed in this study at 4.1 percent, and it is one of the few cities in Pennsylvania where employment is increasing. 

Photo credit: Getty 

South Carolina: Charleston

Change in employment year over year: 1.3 percent
Change in weekly income year over year: 6.3 percent

The average weekly income is increasing more in Charleston than in any other city in South Carolina that was surveyed in this study, and the city also has the highest average weekly income among the included metro areas at $882. Of the South Carolina cities included in this study, Charleston has the lowest unemployment rate at 3.7 percent. 

Photo credit: Getty 

South Dakota: Sioux Falls

Change in employment year over year: 1.9 percent
Change in weekly income year over year: 1.5 percent

Of the two major cities in South Dakota — Sioux Falls and Rapid City — only Sioux Falls has a weekly income that is increasing. It also has the lower unemployment rate at 2.4 percent, and the higher average weekly income at $769.

It's also a good place for entrepreneurs: a separate GOBankingRates study found that South Dakota is the best state to start a business

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Tennessee: Cleveland

Change in employment year over year: 2.6 percent
Change in weekly income year over year: 15.2 percent

Employment is increasing the most in Cleveland compared to the other metro areas surveyed in this study in Tennessee. It also has the highest increase in average weekly income. 

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Texas: Amarillo

Change in employment year over year: 0.1 percent
Change in weekly income year over year: 15.3 percent

Amarillo has both the lowest unemployment rate and the second-largest increase in weekly income in the state of Texas compared to the other metro areas surveyed in this study, which makes it a good city if you want find career success and make more money

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Utah: Provo

Change in employment year over year: 4.7 percent
Change in weekly income year over year: 8.2 percent

The Provo metro area has the second-lowest unemployment rate and the second-highest increase in employment compared to other metro areas that were surveyed in Utah. It also has the second-highest average weekly income at $887. 

Photo credit: Getty

Virginia: Charlottesville

Change in employment year over year: 3.6 percent
Change in weekly income year over year: 9 percent

Charlottesville ranks highly for cities for a successful 2018, thanks to its low unemployment rate — 3.6 percent — and the fact that both employment and average earnings are on the rise there. 

Photo credit: Getty 

Washington: Seattle

Change in employment year over year: 1.4 percent
Change in weekly income year over year: 3.1 percent

The Seattle metro area has the second-lowest unemployment rate and the highest average weekly income in Washington compared to other cities included in the study, with the average weekly earnings at $1,281. And those earnings are on the rise, which is promising for those looking to improve their financial standing.

A separate GOBankingRates study found that Seattle has the sixth-most job openings in the country, with more than 17,000 open positions. 

Photo credit: Getty 

West Virginia: Morgantown

Change in employment year over year: 1.6 percent
Change in weekly income year over year: 0.5 percent

Morgantown has the lowest unemployment rate in the state of West Virginia compared to the other metro areas in this study, and employment is increasing at a higher rate there than in the state's other metro areas. It also has the second-highest average weekly income in the state at $809. 

Photo credit: Shutterstock 


 

Wisconsin: Madison

Change in employment year over year: 1.5 percent
Change in weekly income year over year: 9.2 percent

Of the metro areas in Wisconsin surveyed in this study, Madison has both the lowest unemployment rate and the highest average weekly income at $977. Weekly income is rising in Madison at the second-highest rate of all the surveyed metro areas in Wisconsin. 

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Wyoming: Cheyenne

Change in employment year over year: -0.7 percent
Change in weekly income year over year: 16.6 percent

Although employment is decreasing in Cheyenne, it is decreasing at a very low rate, and the city still has a relatively low unemployment rate at 3.4 percent — the lower of Wyoming's two major cities. Additionally, weekly income is decreasing in Casper, while in Cheyenne it's increasing at a rapid rate.

Up Next: You'll Need This Much Money to Live Comfortably in the 50 Biggest Cities in America 

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Methodology: In order to source list, GOBankingRates identified the three cities in each state with the lowest unemployment rates of July 2017. Cities were then evaluated on factors to narrow down to one city: 1) year-over-year increase in employment; 2) weekly income; and 3) increase in weekly income year over year. All data was sourced from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. States not included (Delaware, Vermont & Rhode Island) did not have enough available data.

This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: The Best City in Every State for a Successful 2018

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