Money and Opportunity: The 10 Best (and Worst) Places for Job Seekers
Job seekers are all looking for the same thing: Opportunity. Well, that and as much money as they can get for their services. But clearly, opportunity and money don’t grow on trees. We all witnessed just how much of a role economic conditions played in the past election cycle, and it became obvious that just because some cities and industries are booming, a lot of people are feeling the squeeze.
If you’re on the job hunt, or thinking about heading out onto the trail, you may want to restrict your search to certain places. That doesn’t mean you’re strictly stuck looking in high-growth areas like Silicon Valley, however. There are many areas all across the country that are seeing accelerated job and salary growth.
A new analysis from Get Rich Slowly ranked the country’s largest 343 counties to give you a cheat sheet, of sorts.
“Get Rich Slowly analyzed data from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, comparing both job growth over the past year and absolute wage levels for 343 of the largest counties in the United States,” the analysis said. “Based on average rankings in these categories, what follows is a look at 10 counties that are decidedly winning the job war and 10 that are lagging badly behind.”
You can look at the entire analysis to see where your area ranks, but here are the top 10 best and worst counties according to Get Rich Slowly’s team.
10. Hudson County, New Jersey
Just across the river from New York City, Hudson County landed at the No. 10 spot for the counties with strongest job and wage growth. It had 3.2% job growth and an average weekly wage of $1,523.
9. Santa Clara County, California
You knew Silicon Valley and its surrounding area would make the list. Santa Clara County’s job growth was 3.1%, and it had the nation’s second-highest average weekly wage average of $2,210.
8. Olmsted County, Minnesota
Olmsted County in Minnesota made the top 10. It’s home to Rochester, which in turn is home to the world-famous Mayo Clinic. Job growth was 4.1%, and the county had an average weekly wage of $1,162.
7. King County, Washington
King County encompasses Seattle, Bellevue, and the surrounding area. It’s home to Microsoft, Starbucks, Amazon, and many other big companies. The job market grew at 3.6%, and average weekly wages are $1,456.
6. Loudoun County, Virginia
Loudoun County is just outside of the Washington D.C. area. For some perspective, it’s where Dulles International Airport is located. It had 6.2% job growth and an average weekly wage of $1,193.
5. Williamson County, Tennessee
Williamson County is located on the outskirts of Nashville. It actually had the highest rate of job growth within the past year at 7.9%. Average weekly wages were $1,193.
4. Mecklenburg County, North Carolina
The Charlotte area in North Carolina has also been an area of explosive growth. The average weekly wage was $1,365, and job growth was pegged at 4.1%.
3. Benton County, Arkansas
The home of Wal-Mart is benefiting from solid economic growth. Benton County’s job growth was 5%, and the weekly average wage was $1,266.
2. Fulton County, Georgia
Fulton County and the Atlanta area are going through a bit of a boom. Average weekly wages were $1,562 over the past year, and job growth was 4%.
1. San Francisco County, California
It may not be much of a surprise, but San Francisco took the top spot. The nation’s hottest economy, San Francisco County had 4.8% job growth, and weekly average wages were $2,054 — nearly double the national average.
Now, the bottom 10 economies, from GetRichSlowly’s data.
10. St. Clair County, Illinois
St. Clair County is right across the river from St. Louis, Missouri. Unfortunately, it’s home to a pretty abysmal economic situation. Job growth was 0.5%, and the average weekly wage was $761.
9. Broome County, New York
Broome County is home to Binghamton, New York, among other cities. It’s not faring much better than St. Clair County, either. Job growth was 0.5%, and the weekly average wage was $758.
8. Stark County, Ohio
Stark County, Ohio is home to the Football Hall of Fame. And a bleak economic situation. The weekly average wage was $726, and job growth was 0.6%.
7. Cleveland County, Oklahoma
South of Oklahoma City, Cleveland County is going through a rough spell. The average weekly wage was $700, and job growth was only 0.7%.
6. St. Louis County, Minnesota
St. Louis County in Minnesota is in the state’s far northern reaches. The job market actually contracted for a growth rate of -0.9%, and the weekly wage, on average, was $786.
5. Webb County, Texas
The area around Laredo, Texas and the Mexican border is still in development mode. The average weekly paycheck was only $650, and the job growth rate was 0.8%.
4. Caddo County, Louisiana
Caddo County is in northern Louisiana and includes the Shreveport area. Job growth was awful, contracting 1% last year, and weekly average wages were $776.
3. Cameron County, Texas
Another county in southern Texas, Cameron County’s job growth was 0.6%, and weekly wages averaged out at $592 — second-worst in the country.
2. Erie County, Pennsylvania
The Erie area has had an anemic economy over the past several years. Job growth last year was 1.4%, and weekly wages averaged out at $769.
1. Mahoning County, Ohio
The nation’s worst economy, according to this data set, was in Mahoning County, Ohio. Job growth was only 0.2%, and the average weekly wage was only $683.