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3. Omaha, NE/Council Bluffs, IA

Omaha is a great example of a city that’s avoided the booms and busts, ranking high on stability.

Could its slow but steady growth be the influence of one of its most famous residents, the richest man in the world, Warren Buffett?The Oracle of Omaha, as he’s known, made his money based on the motto “invest in what you know” – not getting sucked into the next big boom.

Quite possibly, Sperling said. Perhaps the bigger impact, though, is that Buffett keeps Omaha in the news, which makes it easier to attract big companies there. Today, there are five Fortune 500 companies headquartered there, including ConAgra Foods, Union Pacific Corporation, Mutual of Omaha, Peter Kiewit and Sons, and Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway.

Plus, it’s affordable: the area’s cost of living is 12.4 percent below the national average.

The average price of a home is $137,600, well below the national average of $171,700.

The unemployment rate is 4.7 percent, less than half the national average of 10.2 percent.

Companies That Are Hiring Now: ConAgra Foods, Creighton University Medical Center, TD Ameritrade and Soliant Health, according to Indeed.com.

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