These Are 2016’s Best Small And Medium-Size Cities For Jobs

Looking for a job but don’t like the big city? Don’t worry, there are plenty of smaller cities ripe with job opportunities, as well

May 20, 2016

Perhaps you find the glare of big city lights a bit harsh. Or, maybe, you are more of a Ferdinand the Bull type who likes to sit quietly and smell the flowers; all the hustle and bustle synonymous with city living just isn’t your style. It takes all kinds; many just don’t enjoy life in a big city. The problem is, big cities often times present job hunters with the most opportunity. Or do they?

As Forbes reports, 29 percent of non-farm jobs in the U.S. are in small and midsize metro areas. In its 2016 Best Cities For Jobs survey, 13 of the 20 metro areas with the fastest job growth were small and medium-sized (meaning they had under 150,000 total nonfarm jobs and between 150,000 and 450,000 total nonfarm jobs respectively).

Small and medium cities that are creating jobs at the fastest clip are typically located in regions that are thriving, such as the Intermountain West, near college towns, and in regions with desirable natural amenities.

To come up with the list, Forbes ranked metros based on recent growth trends, mid-term growth, long-term growth, and the region’s momentum. The areas were then broken down into small and medium categories based on the amount of nonfarm jobs (mentioned above).

St. George, Utah took the top spot among small cities with 7.01 percent job growth in 2015 and job growth between 2010 and 2015 of 30.05 percent. Not only was St. George the number one small city for jobs, it was number one overall for small and medium cities.

On the medium city side of things, another Utah town took the top spot. Provo-Orem, Utah had job growth of 4.78 percent in 2015. Between 2010 and 2015, the region saw a 27.36 percent growth in the number of available jobs. Provo-Orem was only behind St. George in the national rankings.

Gainesville, Ga., Columbus, Ind., Napa, Calif., and Bend-Redmond, Ore. round out the top five for the best small cities for jobs. Meanwhile, Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers, Ark.-Mo., Fort Collins, Colo., Ogden-Clearfield, Utah, and Savannah, Ga., complete the top five midsize cities for jobs.

A common theme shared by most of the cities on the list, regardless of if they are small or medium-size, is that they exist in regions that provide a plethora of natural amenities, which goes against the urban revival theme often chronicled by the media.

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