As Fed Chair Janet Yellen recently told soon-to-be-college-graduates, 2017 will likely provide an excellent job market for new entrants to the workforce. The Bureau of Labor Statistics announced the lowest monthly nationwide unemployment rate in nine years at the end of December, and many expect the bureau to produce similarly positive results Friday.
But not every American city will be a bastion of economic opportunity this year. In fact, those looking to switch jobs in the new year may even want to consider relocating—to Scottsdale, Arizona.
The city, located just outside Phoenix, is the best place for job seekers, according to a study released Wednesday by WalletHub, which examined 150 urban areas based on residents’ job satisfaction, underemployment rate, median salaries and job opportunities, as well as local employers’ disability and internship access and variety. Scottsdale was followed by Plano, Texas, which sits just north of Dallas, and then Orlando, Florida.
The worst location for applicants adheres to the city’s stereotype. Detroit ranked 150th overall, after Fresno, California, in 149th place and its southern neighbor, Bakersfield, California, in 148th.
Detroit, like its Rust Belt neighbors Buffalo, New York, in 146th place and Cleveland, in 143rd place, still suffer from the aftermath of the recession, according to WalletHub analyst Jill Gonzalez. While Detroit, Cleveland and Buffalo's unemployment rates weren’t far from the national average, she wrote in an email to International Business Times that other elements made them relatively inhospitable to job seekers.
“The Rust Belt… is still dealing with new energy sourcing,” Gonzalez wrote, pointing out that Pittsburgh, in 36th place, was a regional outlier, which she described as “a sort of Silicon Valley to the East, focusing heavily on robotics and healthcare.”
“It would be great if more Rust Belt cities could follow suit in forging new industries.”
Contrary to general stereotypes, New York City did not fare nearly as well as the two southwestern frontrunners, as it ranked 147th in medium income, 141st for housing affordability, 141st for industry variety and last for time spent working and commuting.
Another surprise, according to Gonzalez, was Tacoma, Washington, topping the list of highest monthly median salaries, with $3,428—more than double that of the lowest, Honolulu, with $1,360.
A similar study of 100 localities by NerdWallet labeled Austin, Denver and Nashville the top three urban areas for job applicants, while Fresno, Chula Vista, California, and Albuquerque stood at the bottom.
Another, from ManpowerGroup.com, urged applicants to head to Florida, where two of the nation’s cities for best employment outlook resided—namely, Deltona and Cape Coral. The worst places for job seekers, the workforce consulting firm found, included a cluster of Rust Belt cities, of which the least applicant-friendly city was Cleveland.