30 Best Cities to Find a Job

Formerly hot job markets are no longer hot

Job seekers with no ties to any particular location often seek jobs in big cities like New York, Chicago, Los Angeles or San Francisco. But are these the places where they’re most likely to find a job? Not according to the most recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Job seekers are better off looking in such cities as Sioux Falls, S.D., Idaho Falls, Idaho, and Rapid City, S.D. All of these cities registered some of the lowest unemployment rates in September 2008.

Low unemployment rates seem harder to come by in today’s economy. Unemployment rates were higher in 349 of the 369 U.S. metropolitan areas surveyed, which means 92 percent of cities have seen an increase in their unemployment rates. Only 25 areas reported lower rates, while six areas had no change. The national unemployment rate in September, 6 percent, was up 1.5 percent from 4.5 in September 2007.

Ten cities recorded jobless rates of at least 10 percent and nine areas registered rates below 3 percent. Eighty-four metropolitan areas posted unemployment rates of at least 7 percent, up from only 17 areas the year before. Only 46 cities had jobless rates below 4 percent, down from 133 areas at the same time last year. In total, Among the 310 metropolitan areas for which nonfarm payroll data were available in September 2008, 140 areas reported over-the-year employment gains, 164 reported losses, and 6 had no change.

Despite these startling figures, several cities have low unemployment rates. Here are 30 cities (and their Metropolitan Statistical Areas) with the lowest unemployment rates, according to the September numbers released by the BLS.*

1. Bismarck, N.D.

September 2008 Unemployment Rate:  2.5

2. Casper, Wyo.

September 2008 Unemployment Rate:  2.5

3. Logan, Utah
September 2008 Unemployment Rate:  2.5

4. Sioux Falls, S.D.
September 2008 Unemployment Rate:  2.5

5. Morgantown, W. Va.

September 2008 Unemployment Rate:  2.6

6. Ames, Iowa
September 2008 Unemployment Rate:  2.7

7. Fargo, N.D.

September 2008 Unemployment Rate:  2.8

8. Iowa City, Iowa

September 2008 Unemployment Rate:  2.8

9. Rapid City, S.D.

September 2008 Unemployment Rate:  2.9

10. Lincoln, Neb.

September 2008 Unemployment Rate:  3.0

11. Provo-Orem, Utah

September 2008 Unemployment Rate:  3.0

12. Billings, Mont.

September 2008 Unemployment Rate:  3.1

13. Charleston, W. Va.

September 2008 Unemployment Rate:  3.2

14. Midland, Texas

September 2008 Unemployment Rate:  3.2

15. Salt Lake City, Utah

September 2008 Unemployment Rate:  3.2

16. Idaho Falls, Idaho

September 2008 Unemployment Rate:  3.3

17. Lafayette, La.

September 2008 Unemployment Rate:  3.3

18. Santa Fe, N.M.

September 2008 Unemployment Rate:  3.3

19. Charlottesville, Va.

September 2008 Unemployment Rate:  3.4

20. Farmington, N.M.

September 2008 Unemployment Rate:  3.4

21. Grand Forks, N.D.

September 2008 Unemployment Rate:  3.4

22. Lawton, Okla.

September 2008 Unemployment Rate:  3.4

23. Madison, Wisc.

September 2008 Unemployment Rate:  3.4

24. Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers, Ark.-Mo.

September 2008 Unemployment Rate:  3.5

25. Harrisonburg, Va.

September 2008 Unemployment Rate:  3.5

26. Ogden-Clearfield, Utah

September 2008 Unemployment Rate:  3.5

27. Oklahoma City, Okla.

September 2008 Unemployment Rate:  3.5

28. Omaha-Council Bluffs, Neb.-Iowa

September 2008 Unemployment Rate:  3.5

29. Portsmouth, N.H.

September 2008 Unemployment Rate:  3.5

30. Sioux City, Iowa

September 2008 Unemployment Rate:  3.5

*Based on preliminary September numbers accessed October 31, 2008.

0