Excerpt from Smart Asset
by Anja Solum
Despite rising inflation and recent stock market instability, it’s still a job seeker’s market. There are roughly 11 million job openings available nationwide as of May 2022, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). For the same month, there were 6.5 million hires. Data from June 2022 shows a 4% increase in the percentage of people who voluntarily left their jobs compared with one year ago.
With rising costs of living and a nationwide climate that is responding to the pandemic’s impact, some markets are better for those seeking new opportunities or looking to grow their careers. We sought to understand where job seekers have the best access to career opportunities.
To do this, SmartAsset looked at data for the largest 200 metro areas across nine metrics on topics such as employment, earnings, housing costs and access to career guidance. For details on our data sources and how we put all the information together to create our final rankings, read the Data and Methodology section below.
This is SmartAsset’s third study on the best places for career opportunities.
- Midwestern metro areas make up half of the top 10. Specifically, two Indiana metro areas (Lafayette-West Lafayette and Fort Wayne), two Ohio metro areas (Dayton and Toledo) and one Iowa metro area (Cedar Rapids) placed in the top 10. Job opportunities in these areas are diverse and median annual housing costs are relatively low.
- In some areas, average earnings for professionals can increase by more than 20% throughout their career. The Champaign-Urbana, Illinois metro area ranks highest for this metric at 41%. More specifically, in this metro area, workers between the ages of 25 and 44 earn $57,437, while those aged 45 to 64 earn $81,300. Income growth between these two age groups of workers exceeds 20% in 23 additional metro areas that we studied.
- On average, across the study, median earnings rose by 8% between 2019 and 2021. The San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, California metro area has the highest two-year earnings change (21.83%). Of the 200 metro areas in this study, three metro areas experienced a decline in earnings: two in Connecticut and one in Texas.
- Fort Wayne, IN
The Fort Wayne, Indiana metro area has the fifth-best job diversity score, which measures the variety of industries available in the area. The unemployment rate in Fort Wayne is the 23rd-lowest across the study (2.3%). For those employed, the median earnings are $38,050 and housing costs are roughly $9,700 annually (17th-lowest).