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Best Cities for Jobs (2024)

Choosing the right city is a significant decision for a successful career start. BadCredify understands this — that’s why we’ve developed a unique ranking system to identify the best cities for beginning a career. We used different criteria: labor market conditions, housing costs, job growth average change, national unemployment rate, and annual mean wage.

Gathering data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, BadCredify explored over 100 metropolitan zones. Here’s our rating.

Job Growth Over the Last 3 Months

We’ve analyzed populous metro areas to find job growth over the last 3 months — the latest relevant data was received as of January 2024 — and here’s what we found.

Best Cities for Job Growth Average Change

Private sector by Metropolitan Statistical Area with seasonal adjustments, 3-month average change, [IN THOUSANDS]

  1. Miami Metropolitan Area, FL (Miami — Fort Lauderdale — West Palm Beach) — [+11.7]
  2. Atlanta Metropolitan Area, GA (Atlanta — Sandy Springs — Roswell) — [+11.1]
  3. Greater Los Angeles, CA (Los Angeles — Long Beach — Anaheim) — [+9.4]
  4. Inland Empire, SoCal (Riverside — San Bernardino — Ontario) — [+5.5]
  5. Greater Houston, TX (Houston — The Woodlands — Sugar Land) — [+5.2]
  6. Las Vegas Valley, NV (Las Vegas — Henderson — Paradise) — [+5.1]
  7. Greater Boston, MA (Boston — Cambridge — Nashua) — [+5.0]
  8. Minneapolis–Saint Paul, MN (Minneapolis — St. Paul — Bloomington) — [+5.0]
  9. Delaware Valley (Philadelphia — Camden — Wilmington) — [+4.7]
  10. Indianapolis Metropolitan Area, IN (Indianapolis — Carmel — Anderson) — [+4.4]

Worst Cities by Job Growth Average Change

Private sector by Metropolitan Statistical Area with seasonal adjustments, 3-month average change, [IN THOUSANDS]

  1. Metro Detroit, MI (Detroit — Warren — Dearborn) — [-4.8]
  2. Denver Metropolitan Area, CO (Denver — Aurora — Lakewood) — [-2.7]
  3. Lansing-East Lansing Metropolitan Area, MI (Lansing — East Lansing) — [-2.5]
  4. Charlotte Metropolitan Area, NC (Charlotte — Concord — Gastonia) — [-2.3]
  5. San Francisco Bay Area, CA (San Francisco — Oakland — Hayward) — [-1.7]
  6. Washington Metropolitan Area, WA (Washington — Arlington — Alexandria) — [-1.4]
  7. Portland Metropolitan Area (Portland — Vancouver — Hillsboro) — [-1.3]
  8. Mahoning Valley, OH (Youngstown — Warren — Boardman) — [-1.2]
  9. Kahului Metropolitan Area, HI (Kahului — Wailuku — Lahaina) — [-0.9]
  10. Greater Bridgeport, CT (Bridgeport — Stamford — Norwalk) — [-0.6]

Unemployment Rate

It’s encouraging for job hunters to find a city with low unemployment rates, as this usually signifies better chances of securing employment.

Cities with Lowest Unemployment Rate by November 2023

CityNumber of UnemployedLabor Force, %
Grand Forks, ND7751.4
Mankato-North Mankato, MN8891.4
Bismarck, ND10161.5
California-Lexington Park, MD8901.6
Manhattan, KS8471.7

Cities with Highest Unemployment Rate by November 2023

CityNumber of UnemployedLabor Force, %
El Centro, CA1404818.7
Yuma, AZ1476814.1
Visalia-Porterville, CA2155110.2
Merced, CA96208.5
Ocean City, NJ38078.2

Establishments and Amount of Employment

A high count of companies and workers in a city mirrors its strong economic status, providing diverse job options for various professions.

Cities with Highest Amount of Establishments, 2nd QT 2023, [IN THOUSANDS]

  1. Los Angeles, CA — [552.6]
  2. Orange, CA — [143]
  3. San Diego, CA — [128.5]
  4. Dallas, TX — [85.4]
  5. Sacramento, CA — [68.7]

Cities with Highest Amount of Employment, June 2023 [IN THOUSANDS]

  1. Los Angeles, CA — [4,481.90]
  2. Dallas, TX — [1,835.60]
  3. San Diego, CA — [1,533.30]
  4. Santa Clara, CA — [1,121.10]
  5. Washington, DC — [762.6]

Wages and Salaries

Average salaries and their upward growth trend speak directly to the city’s attractiveness for a job seeker.

Cities with Highest Average Weekly Wage by Second Quarter 2023

  1. Santa Clara, CA — [$3,321]
  2. San Mateo, CA — [$3,097]
  3. San Francisco, CA — [$3,073]
  4. New York, NY — [$2,590]
  5. Washington, DC — [$2,193]

Cities with Largest Salary Growth, Percent Change, 2nd QT 2022-2023

  1. San Diego, CA — [7%]
  2. Chesapeake City, VA — [6.8%]
  3. Wyandotte, MI — [5.8%]
  4. Palm Bay, FL [5.5%]
  5. Cape Coral, FL [5.3%]

Cost of Living

A low cost of living offers the chance to either save for future endeavors or indulge in your hobbies.

Cities with Lowest Cost of Living (with Rent for 1 Person)

  1. Youngstown, OH — [$1154]
  2. Lawrence, KS — [$1443]
  3. Palm Bay, FL — [$1608]
  4. Manhattan, KS — [$1630]
  5. Ames, IA — [$1648]

Cities with Highest Cost of Living (with Rent for 1 Person)

  1. Lahaina, HI — [$4267]
  2. Santa Cruz, CA — [$3985]
  3. Wailuku, HI — [$3890]
  4. San Francisco, CA — [$3840]
  5. San Mateo, CA — [$3703]

Cities with Best Housing-to-Income Ratio (For a 2-Bedroom Unit Rent)

  1. Washington, DC — [25.01%]
  2. Midland, TX — [26.50%]
  3. New York, NY — [28.45%]
  4. Travis, TX — [30.50%]
  5. Dallas, TX — [30.53%]

The Most Important Aspects Of Choosing The Best Cities for Jobs

Hundreds of individual criteria may determine a city’s attractiveness, but our research was based on job opportunities, so we’ve chosen exactly these 4.

Average Salary

Securing a job matters, but the key question is whether the salary lets you live comfortably in the city. We created this metric to assist job hunters in choosing the right city by displaying the average weekly net income (post-tax).

Cost of Living

City living often comes with a high cost. Those considering a move abroad should understand how much their monthly earnings will cover expenses. Our metric provides an estimate of consumer goods prices, encompassing monthly rent.

Job Growth

You should think about the future ahead before relocating. The job growth metric highlights the job growth rate in various cities over the past months. It measures the increase in employment opportunities over time, providing insight into the economic health and potential for future job availability.

Unemployment Rate

Understanding job availability is easier with the unemployment rate metric. It shows you the percentage of the unemployed workforce in different areas.

Other Factors to Consider

Many cities in our ranking are ideal places to get a serious first job, but we all have individual preferences. Before you make your final decision, it may be wise to consider other factors in the city of your choice.


When examining healthcare services, look beyond availability to the quality of care in the city. Having access to excellent hospitals and clinics is crucial for those with health concerns.


The cultural vibe of a city greatly influences the quality of life of its inhabitants. Explore the integration of cultural hubs like theaters, art galleries, and local festivals and what they reveal about the city’s artistic and intellectual pulse.

Ecological Condition

Environmental factors are key; residing in a city committed to sustainability can be impactful. Look for green initiatives, recycling efforts, and using renewable energy as signs of environmental stewardship.

Entertainment and Attractions

Assess the city’s entertainment landscape. A wide range of leisure options not only enriches life for residents but also signifies the city’s dynamic and inviting nature.

LGBTQ+ Friendliness

Assess the city’s approach towards LGBTQ+ inclusivity. A welcoming environment is essential for fostering community spirit. Cities championing diversity tend to offer a more accommodating and supportive setting for everyone.


The city’s climate can greatly influence everyday comfort. Consider local weather conditions, from extreme temperatures to seasonal changes, and their impact on outdoor life and energy needs.

Crime Rate

Research the crime statistics of the city. Living in a safer environment ensures tranquility and enhances overall quality of life. Safety is crucial, affecting everything from nightly strolls to neighborhood choices.

Comparing every factor together is the only way to make informed decisions. It’s your potential future — approach this question thoroughly!

How to Find the Best City for Jobs

  • Target Cities With The Most Favorable Conditions. Initiate your employment search in locations boasting strong job growth, significant median earnings, and a variety of industrial sectors. Still, ensure the city you pick fits your lifestyle, including safety, hobbies, and climate.
  • Optimize Job Search Resources. Use the networks of your college alumni and job portals to your advantage. Placing your resume online and establishing connections on LinkedIn can widen your reach. Always scrutinize unanticipated job offers for their legitimacy.
  • Consider New Industry Horizons. The skills and knowledge you’ve acquired, especially universal skills like technical adeptness, communicative clarity, and creative flair, can be valuable in parallel industries. Exploring different fields could lead to new career choices where your expertise still holds significance.
  • Bargain For A Fair Salary. With current labor shortages in some sectors, understand your leverage as a job applicant. Negotiate before accepting a job offer to ensure a competitive wage and a full benefits package.
  • Think About Online Jobs. In the post-pandemic world, numerous jobs offer the flexibility to work remotely, removing the necessity to relocate and helping you save on commuting costs.
  • Ask a Career Coach. Career coaches deliver advice specifically designed for your career goals and skill set. They guide you through job markets in diverse cities, highlighting where your expertise is most valued. Their insights cover current industry movements, strategies for salary negotiation, and achieving a work-life balance.


To identify the best cities for employment seekers, BadCredify assessed three criteria using wage records and job market stats provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and median housing costs from the Department of Housing and Urban Development. This process entailed examining data from more than 200 regions to pinpoint the best U.S. cities for job seekers.

The first factor is the Wage Score, which contrasts wage trends with those in every other city on our roster.

The second factor is the Job Competition Score, merging the unemployment rate with the mean change in job growth, reflecting a more extensive availability of jobs.

The final factor is the Cost of Living Score, which includes the average of all monthly expenses along with rent for one person.

BadCredify used the following metrics in the overall data analysis:

  • Job Growth Average Change, last three months — 22.5% weight (full weight);
  • Unemployment Rate, last three months — 22.5% weight (full weight);
  • Annual Mean Wage — 30% weight (full weight);
  • Cost of Living with Rent for 1 Person — 35% weight (full weight).

Overall Ranking

The information is outlined as follows:

  • Rank: The city’s position in our comprehensive analysis, based on its Total Score. A lower ranking signifies a superior Total Score.
  • Total Score: This score reflects the city’s aggregate ranking, where a higher score means more favorable job-seeking circumstances.
  • Wage Score: The city’s total wage growth compared to others on the list, with a higher score signifying a greater increase overall.
  • Job Competition Score: The city’s overall employment competitiveness, compared to the rest on the list, with a lower score reflecting smaller competition.
  • Cost of Living Score: The overall affordability of living in the city with all average monthly expenses with rent for one person, compared to others on the list, with higher scores reflecting greater affordability against average income.
CityTOTALWage ScoreJob Competition Score (LESS = BETTER)Cost of Living Score
Sandy Springs, GA99.1078.353.0585.80
Anderson, IN98.4376.077.9592.31
Nashua, NH97.8685.7410.2884.41
Roswell, GA97.7878.353.0684.50
St. Paul, MN96.5979.979.3887.99
Fort Lauderdale, FL95.7776.591.3282.51
Hayward, CA95.5891.4221.1987.35
Minneapolis, MN95.4579.979.3886.86
Bloomington, MN95.1079.979.3886.51
Atlanta, GA94.1278.353.0580.82
Santa Clara, CA93.9199.0017.6374.55
Anaheim, CA93.3181.016.9781.26
Maryland, MD93.2885.5716.0685.78
Midland, TX92.8478.0716.2693.03
Wilmington, DE92.4378.9012.1087.62
West Palm Beach, FL92.0076.591.3278.73
Carmel, IN91.7176.0711.8789.51
Fort Bend, TX91.2379.5312.8586.54
Chesapeake City, VA91.1074.2210.9689.85
Long Beach, CA91.0981.016.9479.02
Miami, FL91.0476.591.3277.77
Camden, NJ90.7878.9012.1085.97
Lawrence, KS90.4872.5815.8595.75
Sugar Land, TX90.4177.2512.1187.27
San Jose, CA90.3099.0017.6370.94
San Bernardino, CA89.9676.2514.2189.93
Palm Bay, FL89.7876.3018.4193.90
Indianapolis, IN89.1276.0711.8786.92
Ames, IA88.9774.9817.4693.45
Lewiston, ID88.9274.4416.1992.66
Grand Forks, ND88.7374.3915.8192.15
Boston, MA88.5785.7410.2875.11
Corvallis, OR88.3779.1917.8389.00
Youngstown, OH88.2371.6920.4699.00
Manhattan, KS88.1172.4515.9993.65
Grand Island, NE88.0973.0816.4093.41
Philadelphia, PA87.8778.9012.1083.07
Bridgeport, CT87.2683.8919.8985.26
Los Angeles, CA87.2481.016.9475.16
Cambridge, MA87.0285.7410.2873.57
Bismarck, ND86.9774.9315.6289.67
Oakland, CA86.5391.4221.1978.30
Vancouver, WA86.4380.3620.2888.35
Paradise, NV85.8774.6714.0187.21
Carson City, NV85.8477.8318.0988.09
Lansing, MI85.8376.4621.7193.07
Houston, TX85.6277.2512.1182.48
Las Vegas, NV85.5574.6714.0286.90
Hillsboro, OR85.5280.3620.2787.43
Salt Lake City, UT85.5177.8417.1786.83
Elmira, NY85.3874.8018.7391.31
The Woodlands, TX84.4177.2512.1181.27
East Lansing, MI84.2576.4621.7191.50
Ontario, CA84.1976.2514.2184.16
Greater Houston, TX84.1175.9411.9582.12
Gastonia, NC83.7677.2521.3589.86
Salem, OR83.7476.5517.8987.08
Sacramento, CA83.5880.8716.4281.13
Walla Walla, WA83.3575.7619.3288.91
Riverside, CA82.8976.2514.2182.85
Lakewood, CO82.7781.9621.8284.63
Dallas, TX82.7477.5015.0582.28
Warren, MI82.7477.8525.8192.69
Pocatello, ID82.6371.3018.1391.46
Pittsfield, MA82.5177.2617.2384.49
Pine Bluff, AR82.3871.0219.2292.58
Norwalk, CT82.3783.8919.8980.37
Aurora, CO82.2681.9621.8184.11
Alexandria City, VA82.0387.0319.2676.26
Stamford, CT81.6483.8919.8979.64
Concord, NC81.2577.2521.3587.35
Enid, OK81.1970.8918.7291.02
New York, NY81.0484.7917.0075.24
Dearborn, MI80.9377.8525.8190.88
Gadsden, AL80.9169.0018.0091.91
San Mateo, CA80.8199.0026.5370.34
Henderson, NV80.7974.6714.0182.12
Orlando, FL80.7874.4414.8583.19
Portland, OR80.7580.3620.2882.67
Honolulu, HI80.4278.5815.8979.73
Detroit, MI80.3077.8525.8190.25
Fond du Lac, WI80.1774.5917.3484.92
Tampa, FL79.1775.9716.5681.76
Denver, CO79.0881.9621.8280.94
Cape Coral, FL77.7074.0618.1983.83
San Francisco, CA77.0391.4221.1968.80
Arlington, VA76.6387.0319.2670.86
San Diego, CA76.2081.6616.6473.17
Kahului, HI72.7076.0123.6982.37
Visalia, CA72.3574.0127.9188.25
Charlotte, NC72.0277.2521.3578.12
Washington, DC71.8687.0328.8775.69
Mankato, MN70.8074.9315.1172.98
Ocean City, NJ68.3173.4224.8881.76
Gettysburg, PA66.3972.9018.0773.57
Yuma, AZ65.1672.2036.4591.42
Santa Cruz, CA61.8279.0922.4467.17
Wailuku, HI58.5776.0123.6968.24
Lahaina, HI54.3376.0123.6964.00


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