The best U.S. cities for jobs in 2020

Job hunters, pack your bags. If you’re looking for a new job, the best prospects may be in Arizona.

Three of the top 10 U.S. cities for employment are in the Grand Canyon State, according to a recent study by WalletHub. Scottsdale tops the list of 182 cities for the second year in a row because of its high median annual income, job security, and access to employee benefits.

Chandler and Tempe also broke into the top ranks, coming in at No. 6 and No. 8, making Arizona a 2020 destination for job seekers.

“Employment growth and the large share of engaged workers are among the other factors that contributed to Scottsdale, Chandler, and Tempe ranking in the top 10," said Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub’s analyst. “It's easier to find a job in a city that's currently growing and developing.”

Graphic Credit: David Foster/Yahoo Finance
Graphic Credit: David Foster/Yahoo Finance

WalletHub rankings were calculated by analyzing 31 metrics like job opportunities, employment growth, starting salaries, and others. It comes at a time when Americans are moving at the lowest rate in more than 70 years.

Best cities for job seekers

Despite low socio-economic rankings in areas such as housing affordability, both San Francisco and Boston have very strong job markets, propelling them to No. 3 and No. 7, respectively. Both are among those with the highest average monthly starting salaries. They also have very low unemployment rates and low automation risk.


Both cities are located in states that have enacted a salary history ban, prohibiting an employer from requesting information about previous pay. This helps break the cycle of unfair low salaries, Gonzalez said.

The skyline of Scottsdale, Arizona, in evening light
Scottsdale, Arizona, is the top city for job seekers in 2020 for the second year in a row, according to a WalletHub study. (Photo: Getty Creative)

Rounding out the top 10 are South Burlington, Vermont (No. 2); Austin, Texas (No. 4); Fremont, California (No. 5); Portland, Maine (No. 9); and Boise, Idaho (No. 10), according to the study.

Most difficult places to find a job

If you live in Detroit; Newark, New Jersey; or Fayetteville, North Carolina, moving to another city might give you a better chance of finding a job. These three had the worst rankings in the study.

Detroit is at the bottom of the list at No. 182 with poor showings for full-time employment, availability of apprentice-trainee jobs, and employers' disability friendliness. The Motor City also has a large share of workers in poverty and high annual transportation costs.

Newark, New Jersey, USA: downtown buildings seen from the air, Passaic River and Harrison on the right - Dock Drawbridge - in the foreground the Ironbound, a Portuguese neighborhood - photo by M.Torres
Newark, New Jersey, has a low share of engaged workers and it is near the bottom at No. 180 when it comes to job opportunities. (Photo: M.Torres by Getty Creative)

Fayetteville (No. 181)lacks employment growth, industry variety, and access to internships, while Newark (No. 180) has a low share of engaged workers and is one of the worst cities for job opportunities.

California is home to some of the best and worst cities for job seekers. While Fremont and San Francisco make the top 10, cities like Fresno (No, 165), San Bernardino (No. 169), and Stockton (No. 179) are among the most difficult places to find a job, the study found.

Fewer people moving across states

Even if job prospects aren’t great where they live, U.S. workers are still reluctant to move. Americans are moving at the lowest rate since 1948 when data was first collected, according to the Census Bureau.

However, when people do move, it’s usually for a job.

QUINCY, MA - APRIL 2: A piece of artwork belonging to James Pantages is loaded into a truck at his home in Quincy, MA on April 2, 2018. For many years, Pantages spent weekends at area flea markets, art galleries, and auctions scouring for humble treasures hed squirrel away in the ramshackle three-story home he shared with his mother for roughly 60 years. But when his 96-year-old mother entered an assisted living facility earlier this year, Pantages, 69, was finally forced to reckon with what had grown into an unwieldy collection: a sprawling hoard of some 1,200 objects that crowded every inch of their home. Pantages, who retired in 2002 and is now moving into a smaller place, is working with appraiser Peter Smith, who last month began systematically removing and cataloging the collection, a portion of which is slated for sale this September. (Photo by Suzanne Kreiter/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
Americans are moving at the lowest rate since 1948. (Photo: Suzanne Kreiter/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

Nearly half the people who moved to a different state last year did so because of a new job opportunity or company transfer, according to a recent study from United Van Lines, a moving company.

The states that saw the most inbound moves last year also had many cities rank highly for job seekers in WalletHub’s study. Arizona, for example, had 63.2% of inbound moves, and only 36.8% of outbound ones, in 2019.

The second-most popular reason for moves to the state? A new job.

Denitsa is a writer for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter @denitsa_tsekova.

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