These fast-growing cities offer the best job prospects

Austin, Texas
Austin, Texas

With the unemployment rate at the lowest level in a decade, it's a great time to look for a job. But you'll have much better luck in cities that are seeing the fastest growth.

Job hunters in Scranton, Pennsylvania, will have a much tougher search than those in Denver or Nashville, Tennessee, according to a forecast by Oxford Economics, which crunched the numbers and came up with growth forecasts for 89 of the largest U.S. metro areas.

And a few themes stood out.

First, economic growth is generally stronger in cities where the population is growing. That helps spur homebuilding and consumer spending, two of the main forces underlying any economic expansion.

The fastest-growing cities, according to the analysis, are in big suburban metro areas in the Southeast and Southwest, such as Austin, Texas, and Charlotte, North Carolina.

On the other hand, some high-cost cities are seeing many new arrivals priced out of red-hot housing markets.

"Surging house prices in the Bay Area and Southern California, combined with improved economic conditions within lower-cost interior states, have reached a tipping point that's encouraging more middle-income householders to relocate," according to the report's authors, Matthew Mowell and Gregory Daco.

That outmigration has created a headwind for growth in Los Angeles and San Jose, California, while helping to boost growth in cities in the Pacific Northwest, Arizona, Colorado and Texas.

Technology is also playing a role in spurring job and wage growth, especially in metro areas that emerged as hubs for tech industries. Those include Austin and Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina.

Employment growth is also being spurred by the growth of new companies, which have traditionally been the biggest source of new jobs. And the data suggest that cities with the largest share of foreign-born residents are seeing the fastest creation of new companies.

Metro areas like Miami and Las Vegas, with more than 1 in 5 residents born outside the U.S., have the highest share of companies formed within the last five years.


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