This Study Ranked U.S. Cities for Job Seekers. Is Your City Among the Best?

job seekers
Davel5957/Getty Images

The South is hot, runs on greasy, fried foods and is filled with bugs and terrible drivers (you decide which is worse).

But, according to a new study by Indeed.com, the South is also one of the better places to look for a job.

The study, published today on Indeed’s blog, lists the top cities for U.S. job seekers. And surprise! The top 10 spots include many of our favorite southern metropolises.

The Criteria for This Study

To determine the top cities for job seekers, Indeed looked to answer four questions:

1. How favorable is the local job market?

2. What’s the average salary? (Adjusted for the cost of living.)

3. How do employers score for work-life balance on Indeed’s database?

4.How do employers score for advancement opportunities and job security on Indeed’s database?

After crunching the numbers on the top 50 cities with the most job listings on Indeed, they came up with each city’s percentile score in each of these four areas. These percentages were then turned into individual “Indeed City Scores.”

The South Comes Out on Top

What they found was good news for us southern folk and even better news for anyone who’s tired of the cold and dreary winters of the North: the South tended to dominate the list, with most of the top 10 cities for job seekers located throughout the region.

And making us St. Petersburg-based Penny Hoarders proud? Three different cities in the Sunshine State managed to snag a spot in the top 10, including Miami at number one, Orlando at number two and Jacksonville at number seven.

The top spots also include cities from Texas (Austin and Houston, numbers four and nine, respectively) and Raleigh, North Carolina at number three. The southern haven of blues and rock n’ roll — Memphis, Tennessee — comes in at number 10.

Three cities in California also made it onto the list, with Sacramento placing fifth, San Jose sixth and San Diego eighth.

You can find a full list of the top 25 U.S. cities for job seekers according to Indeed here.

Well, That’s Interesting

Before you pack up and move, though, note that while Miami outscores the other cities on the list for work-life balance and job security and advancement, it actually holds one of the lowest scores for the average salary as compared to the high cost of living.

So while you might love your job, you’ll also probably end up stressing about finances more than the average joe from say, Seattle, which scored the highest on the list in terms of salary percentile (but came in at number 17 on the list overall).

Surprisingly (or not so surprisingly, considering recent trends) there’s a definite absence of midwestern cities — a region historically dominated by manufacturing. Indeed’s Senior VP Paul D’arcy attributes this to the fact that manufacturing jobs “have steadily declined over the years and haven’t shown promise for career growth like a generation ago.”

As a result, he notes, those states are instead “working to diversify their economy to attract workers and keep talent in their state.” So perhaps we’ll be seeing more of the midwest on future versions of this list as they work to attract more diverse businesses to the area.

One interesting fact that the folks over at Indeed note is that Austin is the first city on the list to score above 50% in each of the four categories. Not surprisingly, Houston also meets this standard. So maybe a move to Texas is in order?

Either way, if you’re ready to throw off your giant puffer coat for good and slip into something a bit more comfortable (and by that, I mean flip-flops and shorts), it might be time to start shopping the job markets in, well, pretty much any city on the list.

Your Turn: Are you on the hunt for a new job? Will you be searching in any of the cities listed here?

Grace Schweizer is a junior writer at The Penny Hoarder. Her work-life balance is primo, thanks to an incredible company that values its employees.

Do you think this article might help you put more money in your pocket?