At 4.1%, the US unemployment rate is at its lowest level in two decades. Still, as underemployment and stagnant wages erode consumers’ buying power, an employee’s ability to score a well-paying job today depends in part on their willingness to relocate.
To help those on the job market find the cities best for them, Adobo analyzed the data and create easy-to-read guides to the career opportunities available in each of the country’s top 50 metro areas.
Unsurprisingly, the field seeing the the fastest growth between 2012 and 2015 is computer and mathematical occupations, which have grown by more than 20% over the past four years. In a relatively distant second place, community and social service occupations have grown by 15.3%, followed more closely by business and financial operations occupations (13.4%) and construction and extraction occupations (13.2%). The fifth fastest-growing field involves health care practitioner and technical occupations, which grew 12.3%.
First, Adobo breaks down how many jobs per 1,000 jobs exist in each category in each of the top 50 metros…
Our nation’s capital tops the list for business and financial operations, with a solid 98.9 jobs in the field per every 1,000 – the highest density of any occupation in any of the top 25 MSAs. Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO (79.5) and San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA (78.5) also posted solid numbers.
For the fastest-growing occupation – computers and math – Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV, offers the highest job density, with nearly 73 out of every 1,000 jobs being in the field. Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA – recently named the country’s second-best tech city – has 67 job in the field per 1,000. Somewhat surprisingly, Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA, scored the lowest of the top 25 MSAs, with only 11 jobs in tech for every 1,000 jobs in the area.
Tech-heavy jobs include everything from software and web developers, support specialists, systems analysts, network administrators, and programmers, to statisticians, mathematicians, and computer research scientists. They’ve been growing at an unsurpassed rate since 2012, at an average of 4.8% a year – which would be higher if not for a stumble between 2014 and 2015, when the sector’s employment grew only 1.5%. The year before, employment grew an incredible 8.1%.
Unsurprisingly, San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara CA – the metro area that includes the San Francisco Bay area – leads with tech jobs, blowing nearly every other city out of the water.
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Social workers, counselors, religious workers, probation officers, therapists, and community health workers comprise this universally important job category, which means that these workers aren’t concentrated in metros. Since these jobs are everywhere, many areas are on par with the national average, leading to lower overall location quotients.
In terms of jobs per 1,000 for the top 25 metro areas, Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD, topped the list. But now that we’re looking at location quotient for the the top 50 metro areas, the Philadelphia area drops to #3, with about 1.4 times more jobs than the national average.
Instead, Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford, CT, rises to the top, with 23.3 jobs in the field per every 1,000 and a location quotient of 1.6. Providence-Warwick, RI-MA, comes in second place with about 1.5 times more jobs than the national average concentration. Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA-NH, and Buffalo-Cheektowaga-Niagara Falls, NY, both have a location quotient of 1.3.
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Much like community and social service workers, business and financial operations – a group that includes accountants, real estate assessors, auditors, financial analysts, human resource specialists, claims adjusters, loan officers, logisticians, training and development specialists, event planners and similar employees – are scattered around the country, meaning the location quotients are fairly low.
As we mentioned earlier, our nation’s capital has nearly double the national average concentration of business and financial jobs, with a 1.9 location quotient. Sacramento–Roseville–Arden-Arcade, CA; Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO; and San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA, all have location quotients around 1.5.
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When it comes to construction and extraction jobs, this broad category largely includes jobs that are necessary everywhere, such as electricians, floor installers, insulation workers, carpenters, roofers, masonry workers, painters, maintenance workers, and solar photovoltaic installers. As the name implies, this category also includes workers who deal with mining and oil and gas extraction, such as continuous mining machine operators, earth drillers, and derrick operators.
The preponderance of oil and gas extraction that puts Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land in first with 60.1, TX; New Orleans-Metairie, LA and Oklahoma City, OK are second and third, respectively.
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Health care jobs, such as physicians, surgeons, lab technicians, dentists, physical therapists, and support technologists, must necessarily exist everywhere, which drives down location quotients. Still, some cities rise to the top. And they’re probably not the cities you’d expect…
Fortunately, for four out of the five fastest growing job categories, chances are, job-seekers won’t necessarily need to relocate in order to find opportunities in their field, but they might want to in order to chase the perfect position or pursue growth. The coasts are especially ripe with opportunity, but even Midwestern and inland areas, like Minneapolis and Austin, offer ample opportunity in these popular careers…
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