The Cities With The Best Opportunities For Job Seekers This Year

As it is in real estate, landing your dream job is all about location, location, location.

The Cities With The Best Opportunities For Job Seekers This Year
[Photo: RudyBalasko/iStock]

Economists’ optimism about the most recent jobs report fell a bit short in December, when the U.S. economy gained 156,000 new jobs, according to the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a little under expectations.


Still, new reports from several job platforms indicate that those numbers may be about to improve. The majority of U.S. employers across a wide breadth of industries say they plan to maintain or increase their payrolls in 2017.

That’s likely why ZipRecruiter is calling this “the year of the job seeker.” But where exactly will all those open positions most likely proliferate?

The job board’s researchers analyzed the company’s internal data from 2016 to find out which cities and industries have the most career opportunities. To do this, they took data from the job postings in each city and compared it to the number of job seekers in each of those cities on ZipRecruiter. Then the researchers created two rankings. One is based on the ratio of openings to job seekers for each city. The other uses the same data to rank the top five industries that are hiring within those top 10 cities.


Top 10 Metro Areas For Jobs

  1. Minneapolis–St. Paul–Bloomington, MN-WI
  2. Providence–New Bedford–Fall River, RI-MA
  3. Portland–Vancouver–Beaverton, OR-WA
  4. Kansas City, MO-KS
  5. Cincinnati–Middletown, OH-KY-IN
  6. Seattle–Tacoma–Bellevue, WA
  7. St. Louis, MO-IL
  8. Pittsburgh, PA
  9. Louisville/Jefferson County, KY-IN
  10. Boston–Cambridge–Quincy, MA-NH

A quick scan of the list shows that major hubs such as Silicon Valley and New York City are conspicuously absent. In their place are mid-size metropolitan areas, primarily located in what’s commonly referred to as “fly-over country.”

That wasn’t so much of a surprise to ZipRecruiter, as the Midwest dominated the platform’s rankings last year, too. ZipRecruiter’s content coordinator Kylie Anderson writes that the preponderance of Midwestern metro areas is the result of rapid growth in tech companies tapping into the lower costs of living and working in those locations. Last year’s trend of low job competition and low unemployment across the Rust Belt, coupled with slight rebounds in historically depressed industries like automotive and general manufacturing, heralded a streak of economic stability, Anderson notes–one that many employers seem keen to take advantage of.

Among the top-ranked cities, the Minneapolis–St. Paul metro area rose seven spots since last year, likely due to the fact that the Twin Cities are helpfully situated between Seattle and Chicago. A diverse portfolio of industry sectors is spread across the region, and despite the large population, there still isn’t heavy competition for talent.


Providence, Rhode Island came in next, thanks to a healthy job market in one of the hottest sectors: health care. Biomedical companies are springing up, too, as Providence works to diversify its economic base.

One of the few coastal outposts that ranked at the top of the list, Portland, in third place, likewise gets a boost from its geographical proximity to international air terminals and marine shipping. “Its emphasis on clean, renewable technologies as well as strong community support of a wide range of disciplines makes it a great place to work and live,” Anderson writes. Ditto for Seattle, which at number six boasts a continuation of growth in the tech sector.

Top 5 Industries By Job Openings

  1. Health Care
  2. Finance and Insurance
  3. Automotive
  4. Government and Community
  5. Business

Although the health care sector didn’t post as strong a showing on CareerBuilder’s latest ranking (it came in third, behind business/financial operations and IT), the industry is experiencing a talent shortage due to a variety of factors, so it’s no wonder it topped the list for ZipRecruiter. For those eager to land a job in the sector, Seattle, Portland, and Kansas City were hotspots for the health care industry.


ZipRecruiter’s analysis also notes that while manufacturing may be slowing down in St. Louis, the city is making a comeback thanks to health care. And the same goes for Pittsburgh, in fact. Anderson writes that the Rust Belt city “boasts the most top-10–list spots of any of our best job market cities, ranking high as a top city for tech and healthcare in 2016. With its diversified economy and consistent demand in health care as well as its service sector, the city shows no signs of slowing in 2017.”


About the author

Lydia Dishman is a staff editor for Fast Company's Work Life section. She has written for CBS Moneywatch, Fortune, The Guardian, Popular Science, and the New York Times, among others.