Best and Worst Cities to Find a Job in 2018

 Job seekers, if your search has been going slowly, you may wonder what about your resume is unattractive to employers. Are your work and education backgrounds adequate? Are your skills relevant? While these factors certainly play a role in your becoming employed, remember that success in job searching also depends largely on location. WalletHub recently published a study of 2018’s Best Cities to Find a Job.

The study compared 182 U.S. cities, including the 150 most populous cities, plus at least two of the most populous cities in each state. Cities were assigned points for 26 relevant metrics in the categories of job market strength (job opportunities, employment growth, starting salaries) and socioeconomics (safety, average commute times). Each city’s score was calculated across all metrics to determine its overall score.

Maybe you’re job searching in 2018 and would consider relocating. Or, maybe you want to see if your city made the list and how it stacks up. Here we’ll list the seven worst cities to find a job in 2018, followed by the eight best cities to gain employment.

7. Hialeah, Florida

Amelia Park, Hialeah, Florida
It’s last in median income.  LuisFidelAyerves/iStock/Getty Images

Your chances of earning a high income are pretty grim in Hialeah, Florida. The city of 237,000 came in dead last for median annual income. In fact, it’s been said residents in this city have the second worst earning power in the country, and they save very little money. Could money and love be tied together? Hialeah also ranked almost dead last in a WalletHub study of best and worth places to be single.

Next: A city with salaries 10% below the national average

6. New Orleans

Dusk falls over Bourbon Street in the French Quarter of New Orleans, 11 July 2006, almost one year after Hurricane Katrina devastated the city. For tourists strolling through the French Quarter it's easy to forget that Hurricane Katrina ravaged New Orleans a year ago. The beignets are fresh, trinkets and designer clothes are artfully arranged in shop windows, and hurricanes are spinning in the bars on Bourbon Street. But while the music, food and good times have come back, the crowds have not and the city is struggling to make ends meet while its main industry remains crippled. With more than 10 million visitors a year, tourism was once a 5.5 billion dollar industry in New Orleans, accounting for 40 percent of the city's tax revenues and employing 85,000 people. (Photo by Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images)
Unless you work in movies, finding a job may be tough. | Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images

New Orleans came in as the sixth worst city to find a job, ranking fourth lowest for employment growth. Currently, 5.6% of residents are jobless. Another bleak New Orleans statistic is the city’s residents take home an average salary nearly 10% below the national average. One recent bright spot worth: The city, recently dubbed the “Hollywood South,” has seen a surge in filming of movies and TV shows. This comes thanks to city tax breaks, and it has resulted in thousands of new jobs.

Next: Unemployment runs high in this southern city.

5. Birmingham, Alabama

Birmingham, Alabama, USA
Salaries are also lower than the national average. | SeanPavonePhoto/iStock/Getty Images

Several Alabama cities ranked low on the list of places to find a job in 2018. Coming in as the fifth worst was Birmingham. The city of 212,000 ranked 170 of 182 for unemployment rate. According to one report, 5.5% of people in the city are without a job. The average annual salary is $46,000, lower than the $48,000 national average. Many of the jobs the city does have to offer are often in the banking and insurance industries. It serves as the headquarters of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama.

Next: A city that could use more jobs and more happiness

4. Columbus, Georgia


This Georgia city of 201,000 residents came in fourth to last for overall job market strength. Columbus also received the dubious distinction of being one of the least happy places to live, according to a 2017 WalletHub study. One major employer in the Columbus area is a U.S. Army base next to the city, which provides 41,000 jobs.

Next: You’ll struggle for a living wage in this city.

3. Newark, New Jersey

Newark, New jersey
Finding a job is tough in Newark | Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Newark, New Jersey came in as third worst place to find a job in 2018. The city, with a population of 277,000 came in second to last for job market strength and third to last for median annual income. The findings of a separate, 2014 study may still ring true: A living wage that can support the costs of living is difficult to attain in Newark.

NextThe Motor City moves up a spot.

2. Detroit


crime tape in Detroit
In addition to having high unemployment, Detroit ranked poorly for safety. | Bill Pugliano /Getty Images.

Detroit came in as the second worst place to find a job. The city of 673,000 came in almost last in the socioeconomic category, which takes into account factors like median annual income, average work and commute times, transit accessibility, housing affordability, and safety. The city also ranked poorly in categories like unemployment (last) and job opportunities (second to last). One bright spot for The Motor City: It moved up a spot in this study from the bottom rank in 2017.

NextThe worst city to find a job in America in 2018

1. Shreveport, Louisiana

Bossier City, LA, USA
Local residents disagreed, but the numbers are there. | SeanPavonePhoto/iStock/Getty Images

Shreveport, Louisiana was ranked as the worst place to find a job in 2018. The city of 195,000 came in dead last in job market strength, factoring in job opportunities, employment growth, starting salaries, and job security. Shreveport’s unemployment rate has been reported as just over 7%, which is higher than the national average. The study’s findings drew some criticism from local residents who noted job growth projections, according to a Shreveport Times article.

Next, for a change in focus, we’ll take a look at the best eight U.S. cities to find a job in 2018. Keep reading through all eight to see which industrious city scored the top spot.

Next: The best cities to find a job in 2018

8. Irvine, California

Skyline in Orange County, Southern California
Residents earned a fairly high salary compared to the national average. | TraceRouda/iStock/Getty Images

With one of the lowest unemployment rates, Irvine, California ranked high among best places to work. Residents enjoy a median household income of $94,000, well above the national average.  The city of 266,000 also holds the distinction of third happiest place to live in 2017, according to a different WalletHub study.

Next: A city good for jobs attracts telecommuters.

7. Portland, Maine

Great reflection in the calm water. Portland, Maine
The city has an unemployment rate of 3%. | AlbertPego/iStock/Getty Images

Ranking fifth in the number of job opportunities is partly what placed Portland, Maine, so high among the best places to find a job. The city has a notably low unemployment rate of 3%, and it is said to be attractive to telecommuters. Health care and social assistance are reported as the top industries in Portland, which is home to 67,000 residents.

Next: A warm city with affordable housing

6. Plano, Texas

Plano rail station in Plano, TX
It has affordable housing to boot. | ulkare/iStock/Getty Images

If you’re looking to find a job in a warm southern location, Plano, Texas may be the city for you. With a population of of 287,000, it ranked third in the study for highest median annual income ($84,000) and fourth for most affordable housing. The northern Texas city came in 16th in the socioeconomic rank, which takes into account annual income, commute times, housing costs, and safety.

Next: The No. 2 city for highest median income

5. Gilbert, Arizona

Temple in Gilbert, AZ
The first of several Arizona cities. | ShaunaE/iStock/Getty Images

Job seekers, you might want to pack your bags and head to Arizona, which you’ll see has somewhat dominated the list of top cities to find a job in 2018. The city of Gilbert ranked fifth, in part thanks to the second highest median annual income, of $82,000. With a population of 231,000, this Phoenix suburb’s top employers include GoDaddy and Banner Health.

Next: Another Phoenix suburb made the list.

4. Peoria, Arizona

Glendale, Peoria and Phoenix from North Mountain Park, Arizona
Peoria has been doing well for over a decade. | EuToch/iStock/Getty Images

Ranking first in job market strength, Peoria, Arizona, came in as the fourth overall best place to find a job. The city was ranked among the top in employment growth and enjoys an above-average median household income of $65,000. The Phoenix suburb has a population of 164,000. Apparently, things have been going well in this Phoenix suburb of 164,000 for at least a decade: Money magazine listed Peoria in 2008 among it’s top 100 places to live.

Next: A good city for jobs but not affordable housing

3. San Francisco


This California city is a hub for the technology and tourism industries which ranked second for job market strength in the WalletHub study. The city of 860,000 is also home to more than 30 international financial institutions. Only 3.9% of people are without a job, and residents enjoy an average annual salary of $67,000, well above the national average of $48,000. Notably, however, Frisco had a much lower rank, 43rd, on the socio-economic side. It came in dead last of all 182 cities in the affordable housing category.

Next: A Phoenix suburb known for spring training

2. Scottsdale, Arizona

Scottsdale has several large employers. | iStock/Getty Images

If you enjoy warm weather and baseball’s spring training season, and you happen to be seeking a job, look to Scottsdale, Arizona. The city is home to spring training for three MLB teams and also came in as the No. 2 best city to find a job. With a population of 247,000, this Phoenix suburb enjoys the fifth highest median annual income on the list, of $73,000. The thriving job market includes employers Honor Health, CVS Health, and Vanguard. Described as “the west’s most Western town,” the city ranked fifth overall for job market strength and third for socioeconomics.

Next: What’s the best city to find a job in 2018?

1. Chandler, Arizona

Modern apartments on a street
Chandler has the highest rate of employment growth. | Greg Cluff/iStock/Getty Images

About half an hour south of Scottsdale is yet another Phoenix suburb, which came in as the top city to find a job in 2018: Chandler, Arizona. With a population of 261,000, the city’s residents enjoy a median household income of $76,000. Chandler was cited in the study for having one of the highest rates of employment growth. Intel currently employs 11,900 people in the Chandler area. In 2017, the company announced plans to create 3,000 more jobs there.

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