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The hottest cities for jobs in 2019

Jeffrey Marino,

With over 8 million active job postings on the Zip Recruiter platform, and real-time data showing which jobs and cities are most popular with job seekers, we’ve got a pretty good idea of how 2019 will shape up. Using our Best Job Markets Index, we compared 10 key factors that make for a desirable job market, including economic indicators such as the local unemployment rate and median household income, as well as factors affecting the quality of life, such as a city’s walk score and access to medical services.

The result is our list of the 10 cities showing the most potential for being a job seeker’s paradise in 2019.

1. Des Moines, Iowa

Highest-opportunity industries: Education, sports and recreation, construction.

While everyone is ecstatic that the unemployment rate for the U.S. is at a 50-year low of 3.7 percent, Iowans have to chuckle given that unemployment in their state capital is nearly half that: 1.9 percent.

According to ZipRecruiter data, Des Moines has had more jobs on offer than people applying to them every month since April. Thanks to generous incentive plans and a robust clean energy sector, Microsoft, Facebook and Apple have invested billions in Des Moines and the surrounding suburbs to build sprawling data centers.

And Des Moines is a great place to live: It tied for fourth place with Washington, D.C., and Chicago on the livability portion of our Best Job Markets Index. U.S. News and World Report also ranked Des Moines the fourth-best place to live in the U.S. in 2018.

2. Minneapolis-St. Paul

Highest-opportunity industries: Sports and recreation, agriculture, health care.

From the best towns to work in the sports industry, to the top tech job cities, to the best cities for college grads to start their careers, Minneapolis-St. Paul has appeared in nearly every best-of list we published in 2018, and with good reason. There were two jobs for every applicant in the Twin Cities as of November, and more jobs than job seekers in nearly every industry throughout 2018.

3. Omaha, Nebraska

Highest-opportunity industries: Personal care and service, animal care, construction.

Given its thriving job market rife with high-paying careers in finance and tech, and its big-city feel with small-town prices, Omaha has officially shed the mantle of being a fly-over town. In 2017 Omaha outpaced the national median income growth by a full percentage point, and clearly, job seekers are catching on.

There’s still plenty of opportunity to be had in Omaha, but the ratio of jobs to job seekers declined in 2018 from nearly 3-to-1 in August to 1-to-1 as of November.

4. Madison, Wisconsin

Highest-opportunity industries: Government, real estate, sports and recreation.

Madison is yet another Midwestern town with a crazy-low unemployment rate — 2.1 percent — and with 2.6 jobs for every applicant at the end of 2018, job seekers have tons of leverage to negotiate higher wages and better benefits. Madison had the highest job market score on our index, but its low-ish walk and transit scores bumped it to fourth overall. Ironically, Madison’s aging infrastructure may be one reason why its job market is so strong: There were an average of four construction jobs for every applicant this year.

5. San Francisco

Highest-opportunity industries: Personal care and service, travel, food service.

We know, we know. San Francisco is expensive. But the fact that some are fleeing the city because of the high cost of living has led to labor shortages in the education, health care, retail and travel industries. With more than two jobs for each applicant in these industries, chances are good that job seekers can negotiate a higher wage. And doing so will allow them to live in the city with the best walk and transit scores of all the cities in the top 10.

The rest:

6. Denver

7. Washington, D.C.

8. St. Louis

9. Huntsville, Alabama

10. Albany, New York