Forget Silicon Valley, this Texas city has the hottest job market

The U.S. economy added a paltry 20,000 jobs in February – far below expectations – but prospects for landing your dream gig are better in some cities than others.

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The Wall Street Journal conducted an analysis to find the hottest job markets, studying 53 metro areas with populations of more than 1 million and looking at several characteristics, including unemployment rate, labor-force participation rate and wage information.

Here’s a look at the cities where the local job markets are booming:

1. Austin, Texas

Austin, Texas, is emerging as a hotspot for some of the country’s biggest businesses – who are bringing jobs along with them to the area.

The city in the Lone Star State took the top spot on the Journal’s list, with a labor-force participation rate of 70.6 percent. Austin has an unemployment rate of 3 percent – below the national rate of 3.8 percent – and wage growth of 4 percent.

As noted by the Journal, some big-name companies call the Texas city home – including Amazon-owned Whole Foods and Dell. Last year, Apple announced it planned to spend $1 billion to build a new campus in North Austin.

Investment management firm PIMCO announced last year it was opening an office in Austin, too.

2. San Jose, California

Perhaps it comes as no surprise that San Jose, California – commonly referred to as Silicon Valley – still assumes a prime spot in the rankings.

The local unemployment rate is extremely low – sitting at 2.7 percent. Job growth was measured at 3.3 percent, compared with the national average of 1.6 percent. Wage growth also far outpaced the national average at 7.9 percent, compared to 3.6 percent for the U.S. overall.

Companies with headquarters in San Jose include Cisco, eBay and PayPal – with many other tech giants located nearby.

3. Salt Lake City, Utah

Following Silicon Valley was another city in the West: Salt Lake City, Utah.

The unemployment rate in Salt Lake City was 3 percent, while labor force growth was 1.5 percent.

Wages were growing at a rate of about 4.2 percent, compared to the national average of 3.6 percent.

4. Boston

Boston, Massachusetts was named the fourth hottest job market in the U.S.

Job growth in Boston was on par with the national average at 1.6 percent, though wages were growing at a much faster clip – 5.3 percent.

Companies with headquarters in Boston include General Electric and Liberty Mutual Insurance.

5. Orlando, Florida

Orlando, Florida – home to Disney World – came in fifth.

The pace of job growth is 4 percent.

Wage growth in the area, however, was below the national average, at 3.4 percent.

Last year, Walt Disney World agreed to raise minimum wage for its workers to $15 over the coming years.


Rounding out the top 10 were: Raleigh, North Carolina; the Nashville, Tennessee area; Seattle; Denver and Dallas.

The worst job markets were Rochester, New York; Buffalo, New York and Detroit.