From Forbes: The 10 Best Cities for Job Seekers by Susan Adams
“Today’s murky jobs report is bad news for job seekers. Though the unemployment rate edged down to 6.7% from 7%, employers added just 74,000 jobs this month, the slowest pace in three years and far below the 200,000 many economists had predicted. Another grim fact: the labor participation rate keeps dropping. That means the percentage of people either working or looking for work is declining, likely because long-term job seekers are giving up.
Is there any reason for optimism? If you live in Austin, Washington, D.C., Fort Worth or Denver, or another half dozen cities, the answer is yes, according to a new report on the best cities to find a job.
Every quarter we cover data released by the giant staffing firm, Manpower MAN +0.92%, that relies on surveys of employers in 100 U.S. metro areas to forecast which have the best hiring outlook. Manpower asks three simple questions: are you planning to hire, to fire, or to keep your payroll the same.
Now another company, NerdWallet, has published a different kind of data set. Despite its silly name, I think NerdWallet offers useful information. Based in San Francisco, it’s been offering easy-to-use personal finance information for the last five years, on everything from credit card rates to airport parking costs. I’ve relied on its data to report on colleges that graduate students with the highest pay and cities in the U.S. with the most highly-educated populations. The site makes money by charging commissions on some of the products it recommends, like credit cards, though commissions don’t affect its recommendations according to NerdWallet staffer Divya Raghavan.
This week the site released a list of ten cities it says are the best places to look for work. Instead of Manpower’s method of gauging employers’ hiring plans, it used four data points: unemployment rate, median income for workers, median monthly homeowner costs and the two-year population growth rate from 2010-2012. It got the unemployment rate from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the rest of the data from the Census Bureau.
“Rather than projected jobs, we looked at historical factors to predict the current market,” says Raghavan. NerdWallet used monthly homeowner costs as a proxy for affordability, because it could compare that number with salary. “Affordability is important to most job seekers because they don’t know when or what job they’re going to get,” she says. To do the calculations, NerdWallet gathered numbers for the 50 most populated cities in the U.S., then normalized the data on a scale of one to 100.
At the top of the list: Austin, with its growing tech sector anchored by Dell and a large IBM IBM +1.54% outpost. Though median income is low, at $29,000, so are monthly homeowner costs of just $1,725. The unemployment rate is just 4.7%, two points below the national average. Washington, D.C. comes in second. The federal government is obviously a huge employer as are George Washington University and Georgetown, and two big health care facilities, Washington Hospital Center and the National Children’s Hospital. Median income is much higher than in Austin, at $45,000. Monthly homeowner costs are still a relatively low $2,300 and the unemployment rate is 4.9%. Fort Worth, which has a two-year population growth rate of 5.1%, is home base for American Airlines and Lockheed Martin LMT +2.27% has substantial operations there. The unemployment rate is 5.6%, the median income is $28,600 and monthly homeowner costs are just $1,400.
Though Manpower and NerdWallet use very different calculations and Manpower looked at 100 cities as opposed to just 50, there are some parallels: Austin, Fort Worth, Charlotte and San Antonio are among the top ten on both lists.”