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Published: Tuesday, 3/4/2014 - Updated: 7 months ago

Report: Texas cities among best for new job hunters

Detroit ranks 38th, Cleveland was 50th

BY LEN BOSELOVIC
BLOCK NEWS ALLIANCE

Texas cities dominate WalletHub’s list of the 60 best cities for finding a job.

The online social network for personal finance rated Fort Worth the best city to find a job, followed by Washington; Tampa; Arlington, Texas; and Dallas.

WalletHub only ranked what it said were the 60 U.S. cities with the largest populations, so only two Ohio cities were included. Columbus ranked 26th and Cleveland placed 50th.

Detroit was 38th.

WalletHub ranked the cities based on 13 factors. The factors included job openings, employment growth, the unemployment rate trend, the diversity of industry, starting salary, cost of living, commuting time, and length of the average work day.

Because it looked at the population of cities rather than of metropolitan areas, three of the cities in the top five — Fort Worth, Arlington, and Dallas — received separate rankings even though the U.S. Census Bureau combines the three cities to form the nation’s fourth-largest metropolitan area based on 2012 estimates.

Senior analyst John S. Kiernan said the purpose of the rankings was to give job seekers an idea of which cities offer the best prospects. WalletHub was trying to gauge the overall job prospects for the average person regardless of career field or where they live now.

“The mistake would be to take this or any ranking at face value. The best way to use it is as a map to start your search,” Mr. Kiernan said.

Toledo wasn’t big enough to be considered, but it shares some characteristics with the two Ohio cities that were.

Mr. Kiernan said Columbus finished 15th in the length of average workday and commute. “It means that people in Columbus are spending less time at work,” he said.

The city also was 14th in the percentage of work force that had private health insurance, and eighth in year-over-year fastest falling unemployment rates.

But Columbus was just 42nd in monthly median starting salary, 41st in job growth adjusted for population growth, and 38th in annual average income adjusted for cost of living.

In Cleveland’s favor, it was 18th for job openings per capita, 11th in changes in the unemployment rate year-over-year, 13th in terms of affordability or real estate, and fifth in percentage of work force under the poverty line.

But Cleveland’s negatives were it was 59th in annual job growth adjusted for population growth; 54th in variety of industries, 53rd in percentage of the work force that is only employed part-time; 60th in annual average income, and 52nd in monthly median starting salary.

Mike Veh, work force development manager at The Source of Northwest Ohio, Lucas County’s one-stop job agency, said it isn’t hard to find a job in Toledo or Ohio. The task is finding a job that can support a person or a family.

“Some areas just have a more diverse economy, creating more jobs. Silicon Valley in California is going to draw a lot of high tech people, for example,” Mr. Veh said.

“But how many jobs are available has a lot to do with the economy of a region. Some are just growing more than others.

“But what kind of job is it? That’s always the big question,” Mr. Veh said. “There’s a lot of jobs out there, but can you live on the wages they pay? Can you support a family?”

The unemployment rate in the Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington metro area at the end of last year was 5.4 percent. That was far better than Toledo’s year-end rate of 7.9 percent.

But several cities on WalletHub’s list have better unemployment rates than the Texas metropolis, including Minneapolis (4.3 percent) and New Orleans (4.7 percent).

North Dakota, which led the nation with a year-end jobless rate of 2.7 percent thanks to its booming energy-based economy, is not represented on WalletHub’s list.

The Block News Alliance consists of The Blade and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Len Boselovic is a reporter for the Post-Gazette. Blade business writer Jon Chavez contributed to this report.

Contact Len Boselovic at: lboselovic@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1941.



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