12 Cities With Booming Economies That You Can Actually Afford to Live In

7,711 Views
The Bridge of Lions is a bascule bridge that spans the Intracoastal Waterway across the Matanzas Bay in St. Augustine, Florida
gnagel/Getty Images

Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Jose and Katia. North Korea. Siesta Key: the reality show.

It may seem like we’re on the brink of the apocalypse in 2017.

So here’s some good news you can latch onto for the next few months: Weekly pay, employment and the number of new businesses were all up across the U.S. during the first three months of this year, according to the latest quarterly census of employment and wages from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

In fact, a whopping 86% of the largest 345 counties saw an increase in employment from the first quarter of 2016 to the same timeframe this year. Weekly wages in the U.S. as a whole grew 6.6% during the same period.

But where, exactly, do we see the biggest jolt in jobs numbers? And, uh, can we move there?

In the past, The Penny Hoarder has looked at the local winners and losers in economic growth.

This time, we assessed wage growth, the number of new businesses and the average growth in new jobs for each of the first three months of the year. We also looked at the median rent for counties across the U.S., then zeroed in on the dominant city.

12 Affordable Places to Live With Booming Job Markets

1. Rock Hill, South Carolina

Wage growth rank: 1

New businesses rank: 2

Job growth rank: 3

Affordability rank: 5

2. St. Augustine, Florida

Wage growth rank: 2

New businesses rank: 1

Job growth rank: 5

Affordability rank: 10

3. Bentonville, Arkansas

Wage growth rank: 10

New businesses rank: 6

Job growth rank: 1

Affordability rank: 4

4. Bend, Oregon

Wage growth rank: 5

New businesses rank: 3

Job growth rank: 8

Affordability rank: 11

5. Greeley, Colorado

Wage growth rank: 9

New businesses rank: 8

Affordability rank: 6

Affordability rank: 8

6. Denton, Texas

Wage growth rank: 3

New businesses rank: 9

Job growth rank: 12

Affordability rank: 12

7. Idaho Falls, Idaho

Wage growth rank: 11

New businesses rank: 12

Job growth rank: 2

Affordability rank: 1

8. Titusville, Florida

Wage growth rank: 6

New businesses rank: 10

Job growth rank: 7

Affordability rank: 9

9. Murfreesboro, Tennessee

Wage growth rank: 7

New businesses rank: 5

Job growth rank: 9

Affordability rank: 6

10. Caldwell, Idaho

Wage growth rank: 8

New businesses rank: 4

Job growth rank: 11

Affordability rank: 3

11. Provo, Utah

Wage growth rank: 4

New businesses rank: 7

Job growth rank: 10

Affordability rank: 7

12. St. Cloud, Minnesota

Wage growth rank: 12

New businesses rank: 11

Job growth rank: 4

Affordability rank: 2

Ready to break your lease and move to one of these cities? They may have scored high on our analysis, but you should probably at least make sure you have a job there first.

Make sure to keep an eye on The Penny Hoarder Jobs Page on Facebook for tons of opportunities.

Alex Mahadevan is a data journalist at The Penny Hoarder. He got married in St. Augustine, and would totally move there someday.

Did this article help put money in your pocket?