Everyone who has to work for a living wants to feel a satisfied rush at work every day. Whether the primary need is high pay, plentiful job opportunities, challenging and rewarding work or something else entirely, some cities are statistically better for the gainfully employed than others.
Not happy with your current work situation? The cities on this list attract high achieving workers of all stripes in every field. If you’re not happy with your employer or the state of the job market in your city, maybe one of these top cities could be your new home. Take a look!
Based on a nationwide survey conducted by job search site kununu, Miami came in at the top of the list for happiest employees. The site relied on criteria like employee job satisfaction, challenging nature of the work and the competitiveness of the job market.
Los Angeles, CA
Los Angeles certainly isn't for everyone, but that’s true for any big city. That said, when you talk about what is appealing about L.A., you don't have to think too hard: the weather, the weather, the weather. Oh, yeah, have you heard about the weather in L.A.?
If you have never been to North Carolina, you don't know what you're missing. The mountain air, year-round temperate weather and proximity to breathtaking mountain scenery are just a few reasons high achievers who also like to relax in their downtime flock to the state.
This is one of the main cities on the list that you probably never would have guessed was full of happy, gainfully-employed young people — unless you have already visited Louisville, of course. Positioned on the Ohio River, it’s Kentucky's largest city and is home to Churchill Downs, the track where the Kentucky Derby is held each year.
Yet another sleeper city, Omaha probably isn't well known outside the Midwestern United States — unless you’re a big Warren Buffett fan, that is. It’s home to an eclectic array of activities, from the annual College Baseball World Series to an up-and-coming food scene, and the nightlife is more poppin' than you might imagine.
San Jose, CA
San Jose has a high standard to live up to, biblically speaking. It’s named after Saint Joseph — you know, the guy who married Jesus' mom. Fortunately, it does a heck of a job living up to that standard, as it’s nestled right by the Palo Alto hills and offers weather that can only be described as saintly.
Sacramento doesn't get the publicity that California cities like San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego get, but it offers a host of qualities that make it attractive to its resident employees. The state capital was voted "America's Most Diverse City" in 2002.
Oklahoma City, OK
While residents across the nation may not always understand why people want to work in less bustling states like Oklahoma, the fact remains that most residents of Oklahoma City choose to live there for good reason. Financially speaking, a vibrant economy and an abundance of quality jobs are big attractions.
Like every city, Seattle isn’t perfect, but it has a lot of positive aspects, and its residents are among the happiest in the nation. Not bad for a city so filled with rain, right? Amazon's decision to establish its headquarters in Seattle has only improved what was already a strong job market.
Fresno goes by the tagline "The Best Little City in the U.S.A.," and many residents will swear that it’s true. Agriculture is the primary industry in Fresno as well as other cities in California's Central Valley region, and those who choose to work in Fresno often go there with a green thumb in tow.
Mental Floss compiled a list of the "Best Cities for Jobs" in the United States, and Orlando was near the top. Obviously, simply being home to Walt Disney World provides plenty of steady employment opportunities, but Orlando is about much more than just Disney.
Scottsdale, AZ, placed high on WalletHub's rankings of the "Best Cities for Jobs in the U.S." in 2019, which was based on a 30-metric ranking that included socioeconomic outlook and the relative health of each particular job market. So, what is it about Scottsdale that makes it ripe for healthy, happy employment?
New York, NY
Yes, the Big Apple is full of overworked, underpaid cubicle slaves, but the flip side is also true for countless New York City workers who wouldn’t even consider working anywhere else. The opportunity to make it big and make enough money to propel you through the rest of your career is unrivaled by other cities.
San Francisco, CA
San Francisco is one of the most — maybe the most — expensive cities in America. However, most people who work there are able to live there because they make large amounts of money. They also choose to live there because it’s one of the most competitive job markets in the country, which also works to keep salaries high.
Heading back to WalletHub's rankings based on a varied matrix of criteria, Chandler, AZ, ranks as one of the best places to find a job and work in 2019. It ranked high both in terms of job market strength and socioeconomic outlook, and that’s just for starters.
Forget any "Masshole" stereotypes that may be holding you back from exploring Boston as a potential long-term destination. Not only does it have some of the coolest sites of any big city in America — Fenway Park, the Harbor, Bodega, etc. — but it doesn't have many of the headaches of larger cities like New York or L.A.
The capital of the United States of America is full of people who love what they do, despite the ample criticism you may hear about D.C. In fact, those who work in government are often fulfilled by their line of work, and the city also offers a bevy of professional avenues for those in the private sector.
The closest major city to Plano, TX, is Dallas, but it would be a stretch to call Plano a suburb. Although the city is very much its own entity, it has a suburban feel, and WalletHub ranked it the fifth best job market in the United States. Texas is known for its free markets, and Plano embodies that perception.
Denver is one of the epicenters of the cannabis revolution in the United States, and recreational legalization comes with jobs — lots and lots of jobs. And the jobs that are available are of a very rewarding, mentally stimulating sort, if you catch my drift.
You may have already connected the dots that Columbia, MD, is in close proximity to the District of Columbia, a.k.a. Washington, D.C. That’s why scenic Columbia is on this list, as the District provides a job supply that only gets greater and greater as the government inevitably grows.
In Austin, the people actually pledge to "keep it weird." If "it" has anything to do with the local job market, then "weird" must be a synonym for "booming." Austin is one of the most famous and most populous college towns in the country, and that means local employees get all the perks of living and working in a town where the cash flows freely.
If you can tolerate the winters, then Minneapolis may be the place for you if you’re hunting for a new job. According to Monster.com, Minny was the sixth best city for millennials to find a job during the year 2019. And why not? The people sure are nice and friendly, which makes all those interviews so much more appealing.
Seeing yet another college town on this list is no coincidence. Cities like Madison offer all the vibrancy that naturally arises when a large population of youthful people move into an area. College kids do more than go to class, and their presence keeps restaurants and nightlife top-notch and relevant.
Many of the cities on this list are growing at a rapid clip, and Nashville is no exception. This is important because growth almost always signals a thriving job market as well as the promise that the job market will continue to strengthen. Nashville has become increasingly popular — think of it as the Southern embodiment of cool.
Salt Lake City, UT
Indeed ranked the best cities for job seekers in 2019, and Salt Lake City cracked the top 10. Just so you know, "best cities for job seekers" can generally be translated as "cities with the highest paying jobs that won't steal your soul." Salt Lake City checks several boxes in this respect.
San Diego, CA
San Diego is one of those cities that ranks high in terms of pure, job-related metrics. It has a strong economic climate with an abundance of jobs (military included), and people generally report being happy at their San Diego-based places of work.
Another Midwestern jewel, Indiana is great for job seekers who are willing to plow through some snow in the winter. Who isn't dreaming of a white Christmas, anyway? Indianapolis was anchored in its position on Indeed's rankings by a high number of positive company reviews.
If Portland, ME, wasn’t already on your list of cities where you should look for a job, you're definitely not alone. But just because no one talks about it, doesn’t mean the opportunity isn’t real. According to certain metrics, Portland has the eighth-ranked job market — not in its state, but in the entire country. That’s pretty darn impressive for a town most people can’t find on a map.
San Antonio, TX
Most of the large cities in Texas offer residents job-specific perks that come from business-friendly policies. Whether it’s low taxation, perks for opening small businesses or grants to help companies attract top-notch talent, San Antonio is on top of its game for promoting a happy employee culture.
Colorado Springs, CO
Colorado Springs is home to the United States Air Force Academy, making it technically a college town, but it’s also a military town. This confluence of identities has resulted in an abundance of jobs for those who want to work in a military or academic setting.