Money

10 Great Cities for Finding a Job in 2019

If getting a better gig is on your to-do list for 2019, and you're open to moving somewhere new, here are some of the top places to look.

by FREE Staff
Jan 3 2019, 12:00pm

Boston at left and Scottsdale, Arizona at right. Photos by Getty Images

Lots of new year's resolutions fail, but if trying to escape soul-sucking work is a priority for you in 2019, there's no reason why you can't shoot for the stars. A low unemployment rate and strong economy—despite the terrible year for stocks in 2018—means job seekers have an edge right now.

So how do you get started? Basics like getting your resume updated, letting recruiters know you are open to opportunities on LinkedIn, and tailoring your cover letter to each job you apply for are key. It's also important to channel your energy in the right direction. That means applying for jobs you are actually qualified for and spotting the best opportunities.

To help you determine the latter, WalletHub used census, labor, and other data to look at everything from job growth to average monthly salaries in 182 cities across the country. Then it weighed that information against quality of life factors like commute times, housing affordability, safety, and even how good a city's dating scene is (based on a previous WalletHub ranking). Interestingly, two of their top picks were near Phoenix, with every other region of the country except the Midwest making it into their top ten.

What's most important to you in a city will almost certainly vary from WalletHub's ranking, which considered 30 different factors including more esoteric ones like the presence of work-share programs that allow employers to temporarily reduce work hours of employees instead of laying them off during economic downturns. Since having a decent minimum wage is important to us at FREE, we factored that in as well and listed it for each city.

Top 10 Cities for Jobs in 2019

1. Scottsdale, Arizona

Job market rank: 2
Minimum wage: $11 an hour
Socioeconomic rank: 6

While many cities in the top 10 rank lower in terms of quality-of-life factors, this desert city scores well on both job prospects and socioeconomic considerations, making it WalletHub's top pick of the year. It also has a fun nightlife and lots of great hiking, including the famed Camelback Mountain.

2. Columbia, Maryland

Job market rank: 4
Minimum wage: $10.10 an hour
Socioeconomic rank: 5

This planned community founded in the late 1960s just outside of Baltimore not only has a strong job market and a high ranking for things like affordability and safety, it was also ranked the best place to live in the US by Money in 2016.

3. Orlando, Florida

Job market rank: 1
Minimum wage: $8.46 an hour
Socioeconomic rank: 48

Finding a job in the home of Walt Disney World is relatively easy, but unless you plan to spend all your time at theme parks (there are more than a dozen) here, the reality of living here is much less dreamy: there's a shortage of affordable housing, the temperature is over 90 degrees on average in the summer, and it dropped in desirability as a place to live in the 2018 US News & World Report ranking of best places to live.

4. San Francisco, California

Job market rank: 3
Minimum wage: $15 an hour
Socioeconomic rank: 25

The City by the Bay is beautiful, but its soaring cost of living—Kiplinger ranked it the second most expensive in the country in 2018—makes it a tough place to start out in an entry-level job. And while it boasts one of the highest minimum wages in the country, that still won't get you anywhere near to affording an apartment there. In other words, you'll probably need to live with a roommate unless you're earning six figures.

5. Colorado Springs, Colorado

Job market rank: 6
Minimum wage: $11.10 an hour
Socioeconomic rank: 42

Outdoor lovers may feel like they've hit the jackpot in this city at the foot of the Rockies, which also has a strong job market. Just be sure to watch your budget: The cost of living increased an estimated 14 percent increase over the past year, making it a better place for higher earners to settle down versus someone in a lower-paying or minimum-wage job.

6. Portland, Maine

Job market rank: 8
Minimum wage: $11 an hour
Socioeconomic rank: 36

Maine's biggest city is home to more than half a million people, making it a bustling place in one of the country's prettiest states. If you want more calm while pulling in a big-city salary, consider living in nearby South Portland, which Money ranked the best city to live in Maine in 2018.

7. Plano, Texas

Job market rank: 5
Minimum wage: $7.25 an hour
Socioeconomic rank: 55

Just north of Dallas, Plano is also home to several corporate headquarters, making it a good place to find a job in 2019. Major employers include Bank of America, PepsiCo, and Fannie Mae. But while it ranked number three in Money's 2016 ranking of best places to live, it's fallen off the top 50 since then and WalletHub's substantially lower quality-of-life ranking underscores that slide.

8. Washington, DC

Job market rank: 11
Minimum wage: $13.25 an hour
Socioeconomic rank: 32

If you love politics and all the excitement that comes with living in the nation's capital, then you'll be glad to know there are lots of jobs here too. An earlier ranking from Indeed, which came out in April 2018, also ranked DC as one of the top ten cities for job seekers, giving it the highest marks for job security and advancement.

9. Boston, Massachusetts

Job market rank: 7
Minimum wage: $12 an hour
Socioeconomic rank: 73

Another city that shines in terms of job prospects but is less impressive on quality-of-life factors, Boston is home to several top medical centers and has a big tourism and hospitality industry. Incomes there are well above average, according to US News, and nearby Newton ranked twelfth in Money's 2018 best places to live ranking, so you could get a job in the city and live nearby for the best of both worlds.

10. Chandler, Arizona

Job market rank: 14
Minimum wage: $11 an hour
Socioeconomic rank: 11

The second Phoenix suburb on the list, Chandler has a population of around 250,000 with top employers including Intel, Wells Fargo, and the local school district. While home prices have been steadily rising since 2012, if you don't mind the brutally hot summers, this moderately-priced city could be a good place to find your next gig.