Forbes Ranks the Best Cities for Careers

Where you live can absolutely affect how much you work, and how much you earn while doing it. Forbes recently ranked the cities that are best for career-minded professionals. Did yours make their Top 10 list?

Location, Location, Location

According to the Forbes research, Raleigh is the most opportunity-driven city right now. It’s officially been rated as the best place for career and business in the entire country. Raleigh has a history of being jobs-driven. The city was rated as the best place for business in 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2011. Raleigh was third place on the list last year.

U.S. Census data was analyzed to generate the report. The results were compiled after 200 metropolitan areas in the United States were studied and ranked. The ranking system took into consideration criteria such as cost of living, jobs, income growth and quality of education.

Raleigh has a high number of college-educated professionals. It also offers fewer regulations for small businesses, among other perks. These factors have helped to make the city the richest, opportunity-wise, for professionals and business owners.

Best Cities for Your Career?

Raleigh was at the top of the list with a job growth rank of 25 and education rank of 12. Des Moines, IA was second on the list. Provo, UT and Denver, CO completed the top four. Seattle, Nashville and Salt Lake City also made the list. If you live in one of these cities, you are surrounded by more career opportunities and more jobs than elsewhere. Keep your eyes open and pay attention to those opportunities. You won’t earn them if you aren’t staying open to them. Here are the top 10 cities for careers:

10. Nashville, TN Job growth rank: 7

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Nashville population: 1.67 million

9. Seattle, WAJob growth rank: 59

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 Seattle population: 2.7 million

8. Salt Lake City, UTJob growth rank: 30

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Salt Lake City population: 1.18 million


7. Oklahoma City, OK Job growth rank: 21

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Oklahoma City population: 1.3 million

6. Lincoln, NE Job growth rank: 24

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Lincoln population: 313,900

5. Fort Collins, COJob growth rank: 16

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Fort Collins population: 317,500

4. Denver, CO Job growth rank: 31

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Denver population: 2.6 million

3. Provo, UT Job growth rank: 3

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Provo population: 567,000

2. Des Moines, IA Job growth rank: 35

Image via Flickr by Katie Haugland -

Des Moines population: 594,900

1. Raleigh, NC Job growth rank: 25

Image via Flickr by James Willamor -

Raleigh population: 1.2 million


The list doesn’t just show the top cities; some naturally must fall to the bottom. Hickory, NC and Atlantic City, NJ were ranked among the worst places in the country for job seekers and career-oriented professionals. Hickory has the third-highest unemployment rates in the country, a history they’ve had for 5 years. Atlantic City which was also ranked low on the list, is still attempting to recover its tourists.

Working Geographically

It’s not always practical to move based on how the job market ebbs and flows. However, rankings like this can be beneficial to professionals who are looking for someplace new to start fresh. Look at the data for 5 years, 10 years, to see which cities consistently offer the best opportunities (and which offer the worst).

Entrepreneurs can use the data in another way. Cities that have more jobs have more professionals who can spend money. Freelancers and independent contractors who have goods and services to sell can benefit from targeting these cities through marketing. Strong marketing can bring in clients and customers from these more-prosperous cities. Looking at the rankings can also help you avoid wasting marketing dollars on cities that are struggling with unemployment.

Knowing where the best prospects are can help professionals in many ways. It can help you find the best opportunities for finding jobs, growing a business or even building a client base. So look at the rankings to find where those opportunities are, and use them to make much better future career decisions.




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