Two years ago, my husband and I began to consider moving to a new city. We thought about the type of city we wanted to live in, the location of the city in relation to our families, the cultural opportunities in each city, and many more criteria before choosing to move to Chicago. But above all else when deciding to move to a new city, we took into consideration where there might be ample job opportunities for both of us – my husband, an attorney, and myself at the time a full-time fundraiser. Chicago seemed to boast a strong corporate community for my husband and a large community of nonprofit organizations and associations for me.
Apparently, though we both had success finding jobs here in Chicago, our instincts to move to a larger city might have been the wrong ones in this economy. When CareerBuilder.com’s The Work Buzz posted an article titled “13 of the Best Cities for Jobs”, naturally I assumed you’d find at the top of the list New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles. Isn’t logic clear that larger cities might have more job opportunities? Rather, the list is topped by Lincoln, Nebraska and Bismarck, North Dakota. In fact, this native North Dakotan found 6 of the 13 cities near my hometown (in the upper midwest) and 2 of those cities in North Dakota itself.
The Work Buzz list is based solely on unemployment rates, a strong indicator of job availability, but definitely not the only indicator. I found another study from Indeed.com that went a step further, comparing the ratio of job postings to the unemployment rate in that city. On this list, you’ll find a larger range of cities, New York City included. But you’ll also still find Hartford, Connecticut and other smaller cities have ample job opportunities.
The answer isn’t as clear cut as it might seem. Small town vs. big city, it’s hard to tell which might better produce job search results. But whatever your taste might be, think outside the box when considering any potential move. It might be that Bismarck, North Dakota provides as many job opportunities as the Big Apple.
Marcy Twete is the Founder and CEO of Career Girl Network and the author of the book “You Know Everybody! A Career Girl’s Guide to Building a Network That Works.” At Career Girl Network, Marcy provides women with information, resources, and networking to empower them in their careers and to advance the work of women in business as a whole. Prior to launching Career Girl Network, Marcy worked in numerous nonprofit organizations and as a consultant in the field of nonprofit fundraising, marketing, and community relations. Marcy is a graduate of the College of St. Benedict in St. Joseph, Minnesota, and a native of rural North Dakota. She is the Vice Chair of the Chicago Board of Directors for Step Up Women’s Network in Chicago and a member of the Advisory Board for Girls on the Run Twin Cities, and is dedicated to advancing the work of organizations that move the needle for women and girls worldwide.