The Right Move for a Better Career – Literally

It’s a radical idea, and it’s one you might not want to hear. But a willingness to move could brighten your career prospects.

The number of Americans who move is down considerably. In 1985 some 20 percent of Americans moved every year. Now the percentage is around half that. The number of people leaving their county or state for job reasons is just 4.2 percent, which also is historically low. The bottom line: fewer people are moving for work at a time when the unemployment rate is catastrophic in some parts of the country.

Those who are moving, reports NPR, often move away from where the jobs are. People who exchange high rents and high mortgages for a lower cost of living cede their economic prospects in the bargain.

We at Simply Hired looked at our internal numbers to see which cities are currently buyer’s markets for job seekers, meaning the competition for jobs in these places is low. If you’re willing to relocate, you’ll find the fight for jobs in a certain section of the country (more on that in a minute) is not as fierce.

1. Wichita, KS: Of the 10 least-competitive cities for job seekers, Wichita was the only major metropolitan area on the list. (For the record, Havre, Mont., came in at No. 1, meaning that few people are looking for a job in the city hailed as home to the world’s biggest farm tractor.) Wichita job seeker interest is low (and could be an opportunity for you) in the following fields: life, physical and social science; art, design, sports and media; legal; computer and mathematical; construction and extraction; and education, training and library.

Tip: To research which jobs fall within the various fields of work mentioned in this article, go to: Bureau of Labor Statistics and enter the field of work (for example: “computer and mathematical”) in the search box on the BLS site. You should get a link to a long list of jobs in each field.

2. San Antonio, TX: Of the 10 largest metropolitan areas in the nation, San Antonio offers job seekers the most bang for their job-search buck. San Antonio’s job market is only half as competitive Los Angeles and New York. Those two are the bottom cities among the top 10, which means they’re the largest metro areas where competition for jobs is fiercest. Job seeker interest is especially low in San Antonio in the following fields: farming, fishing and forestry; and military officer special and tactical operations leaders/managers.

3. Fresno, CA: Fresno has one of the highest unemployment rates in the nation at 13.6 percent, but it added the highest percentage of jobs in February. Opportunities for job seekers are available in the fields of architecture and engineering; arts, design, entertainment, sports and media; computer and mathematical; education, training and library; legal; management; and production.

4. El Paso, TX: This is another city that added a lot of jobs in February. Opportunities are in production; architecture and engineering; arts, design, entertainment, sports and media; computer and mathematical; education, training and library; legal; and management.

5. Colorado Springs, CO: There’s a trend here. Have you spotted it? Opportunity is available out west. In Colorado Springs the opportunities are in arts, design, sports and media; computer and mathematical; and legal.

6. Albuquerque, NM: The shortage of legal jobs for recent grads has received a lot of attention of late, but there are law jobs to be had in cities such as Albuquerque. A few more cities where competition for jobs in the legal field is low: Wichita, KS; El Paso, TX; Tulsa, OK.; Colorado Springs, CO; Oklahoma City, OK; Tucson, AZ; Omaha, NE, and Olympia, WA.

7. Orangeburg, SC: Health care is a growing segment of the economy, and Orangeburg has opportunities in the field of healthcare practitioner and technical. Same goes for Hannibal, MO, Sumter, SC and some other small and midsized cities.

8. Louisville, KY: Opportunities are available in education, training and library, a field whose jobs include teachers, librarians and museum workers, among others.

9. Laredo, TX: Located on the Mexican border and in the booming state of Texas, Laredo offers job seekers opportunities in the fields of architecture and engineering (where it was No. 1 on our list of good cities for job-seeking architects and engineers); business and financial operations; food preparation and serving related; installation, maintenance and repair; and life, physical and social science.

10. Tucson, AZ: Yes, we’re back out west again. Tucson is adding new jobs, and interest has been low in the fields of computer and mathematical; arts, design, entertainment, sports and media; and legal.

Go west, young men and women.