WalletHub has published its annual “Best and Worst Cities For Jobs” report, and some results may be surprising.
For job-seekers, the top three U.S. cities to find employment are Scottsdale, Arizona; Plano, Texas; and Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
WalletHub analyst, Jill Gonzalez, said that the agency has determined several factors that come into play when locating the best spot for jobs.
Things like variety of industries, cost of living, and even crime rates play an important role when identifying the top cities.
“We want to give a holistic sense of a city by considering socioeconomic factors that [help determine] what people look for in the job market,” said Gonzalez.
“Just look at San Francisco [number 5] and Oakland [number 123]. It’s almost more expensive to live in Oakland [even though it’s right next to San Francisco], so housing affordability plays a huge role. While San Francisco has a very high cost of living, it balances out when you compare that with its crime rate, job opportunities, wage growth, and employment growth,” she said.
While the top results may be pleasantly surprising, some of the worst cities may not be a surprise at all.
The report, pulling data from the U.S. Census Bureau, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development, Indeed.com, and other organizations to create the extensive list, shows that Bakersfield, Fresno, and Detroit all rest at the bottom of the list, ranking 148, 149, and 150, respectively.
According to Gonzalez, the cities that are the worst location for job seekers are lacking “variety of job opportunities.”
“Detroit is really trying to improve, but by putting efforts into more factory jobs, it’s not expanding industries and so I don’t know how much improvement we will see there,” she continued.
WalletHub determined that once a city finds its way to the bottom of the list it is nearly impossible to recover. However, Toledo, Ohio, has recently disproved that theory. In 2015, Toledo was ranked 134 out of 150. This year, it moved up in the ranks to 107.
“Heavy on industry, right along the Rust Belt, Toledo started to invest in solar energy and look at it differently than it had in the past and now it’s on the up,” said Gonzalez. “It’s still looking at energy, just in a different way, so that it branches young entrepreneurs with experienced veterans in the field who are learning new things.”
Pittsburgh, which came in at number 36, faired well on the list due to its ability to shift its job market to fit the industry evolution.
“Pittsburgh is known as Steel City, but it caught on early that the steel industry was on the decline,” said Gonzalez. “So it looked to new industries, and now it’s a huge robotics hub, and also huge in healthcare technology. Because of these new industries, there is job creation and it’s a blossoming city.”
As President-elect Trump prepares to take office, many have questioned what will happen to U.S. cities in respect to jobs.
David Fiorenza, economics instructor at Villanova School of Business, said, “All of the next four years depend upon what types of policies are enacted by the incoming administration. If there are unfunded mandates imposed, then the states and local jurisdictions will feel the impact and have to bear the burden of those unfunded mandates. If there is less regulation and other potentially pro-business factors, then the states and local jurisdictions could thrive over the next four years.”
While Trump has promised to bring back jobs and penalize companies who outsource jobs to other countries, he has also promised to bring back largely dying industries like coal. This concept tends to go against what has worked so well in cities like Toledo and Pittsburgh, where they picked up new industries and moved on.
“If we hold on to these jobs and prioritize them, that could be limiting,” said Gonzalez. “Job creation is still job creation — just not necessarily the same job, as Toledo has proven. I wouldn’t want to see a city reverting and undoing its progress because of an idea that ‘that’s the way it should be done.”
H/T: NBC News
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