National headlines and newspaper articles celebrate the United States’ job gains and low unemployment. But all news is local, as they say, so how do those headlines hold up in cities across the U.S.?
Below, we list 10 cities by their rates of job growth. We turned to a study by HowMuch.net for rates of employment growth for 2013-2018 in 381 metro areas and the median salary in each city.
These findings can help you spot good cities for a job search and get an idea of what salaries there might be like.
Can you guess the No. 1 city without peeking?
10. Reno, Nevada
2013-2018 job growth: 18 percent
Median household income: $61,360
Although this casino town makes many of us think of jobs in the leisure and hospitality industry, the largest increase in employment here has been in category of mining, logging and construction, the survey says.
In fact, mining, logging and construction jobs are tops for growth in eight of the top 10 cities on this list.
Reno’s opportunities are varied, though: USA Today says that in the last five years every industry in Reno added jobs.
9. Austin, Texas
2013-2018 job growth: 18.4 percent
Median household income: $73,800
The Austin area led the list for Texas. And, yep, mining, logging and construction jobs top the charts for employment growth here in the state capital.
Austin has the highest median household income of all metros in the top 10. It also boasts a thriving music scene, the University of Texas and major tech employers, including Dell and IBM.
These are foundations for long-term economic growth and high employment.
8. Boise City, Idaho
2013-2018 job growth: 18.6 percent
Median household income: $55,324
Mining, logging and construction is the jobs category with the most growth in the Idaho capital, too.
Boise also is home to many government workers. USA Today says 4,600 government jobs were added in the city over the past four years. It says:
“Overall, there are 54,582 more people working in Boise today than half a decade ago.”
7. Fayetteville, Arkansas
2013-2018 job growth: 20 percent
Median household income: $56,038
Mining, logging and construction once again is the fastest-growing jobs sector, this time in a city deep within the Ozarks. Fayetteville also benefits from housing the state’s largest university, the University of Arkansas.
The metro’s 2.5 percent unemployment rate is the lowest in Arkansas and among the lowest in the nation, USA Today says.
6. Gainesville, Georgia
2013-2018 job growth: 20.9 percent
Median household income: $61,977
It’s right there on the city water tower, above: Gainesville, Georgia — not to be confused with the much bigger city of the same name in Florida — prides itself on being the “Poultry Capital of the World.”
Trade, transportation and utilities was the category of jobs that dominated growth in Gainesville, where employment grew faster in the last five years than in any other Southeast U.S. city, according to USA Today.
5. Greeley, Colorado
2013-2018 job growth: 21.1 percent
Median household income: $68,884
Greeley, Colorado, is named for pioneering newspaper editor Horace Greeley, who is often credited with saying, “Go West, young man.” Mining, logging and construction is the top industry category in this city on Colorado’s Front Range.
In October, WalletHub ranked Greeley No. 1 in the category of jobs and economy in its list of the nation’s fastest-growing cities.
4. St. George, Utah
2013-2018 job growth: 23.4 percent
Median household income: $54,842
The U.S. Census in 2018 reported that picturesque St. George, surrounded by state and national parks in the southwest part of Utah, is the nation’s fastest-growing metro.
Here, again, mining, logging and construction led the way for jobs. In fact, Utah overall is a good place to find work: USA Today says each of the state’s five metro areas beat the nation’s five-year jobs growth rate of 7.2 percent.
3. Elkhart, Indiana
2013-2018 job growth: 24 percent
Median household income: $58,960
This isn’t Elkhart’s first big moment in the sun. It has been dubbed the RV Capital of the World and the Band Instrument Capital of the World, for its recreational-vehicle and musical-instrument industries. It’s also the birthplace of Alka-Seltzer.
HowMuch.net points to manufacturing as Elkhart’s current job-growth engine. And the RV industry is still cruising along: The New York Times reports that more than 80 percent of the nation’s RVs are still made in this region.
2. Bend-Redmond, Oregon
2013-2018 job growth: 26.6 percent
Median household income: $66,273
The small city of Bend, Oregon, in the shadow of the Cascade Mountains, is growing fast and adding jobs. Reports USA Today:
“Not including government, every industry in the Bend-Redmond metro area grew by total employment in the past five years.”
WalletHub recently ranked Bend as No. 4 on its list of the fastest-growing cities in America.
Bend trivia: The town is home to the nation’s last Blockbuster Video store.
1. Lake Charles, Louisiana
2013-2018 job growth: 28.3 percent
Median household income: $52,314
So, was Lake Charles, Louisiana, the city you expected to see in the No. 1 spot on this list for job growth? Be honest, now.
Lake Charles earned that distinction by adding 24,482 jobs in the last five years, USA Today says.
Located 126 miles west of the state capital of Baton Rouge, Lake Charles is the fifth-largest city in the Pelican State, with a metro population of over 200,000.
A jobs boom in the mining, logging and construction sector is due partly to some big industrial construction projects for the natural gas industry, USA Today reports.
Despite its No. 1 ranking for job growth, Lake Charles’ median household income is the lowest of all top 10 cities in HowMuch.net’s ranking.
What’s your experience living or working in boomtowns like these? Share with us in comments below or at MoneyTalksNews’ Facebook page.
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