Job prospects bigger in Texas, report finds

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Texas cities dominate WalletHub's list of the 60 best cities for finding a job, a list that includes only one Pennsylvania city.

And it's not Pittsburgh.

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

Philadelphia ranked 43rd, topping Cleveland, which placed 50th. Columbus, Ohio ranked 26th.

WalletHub looked at what it said were the 60 U.S. cities with the largest populations and ranked them 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.

Pittsburgh is the nation's 22nd largest metropolitan area, but WalletHub said the actual city's population was not large enough for it to be considered.

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.

"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.

The unemployment rate in the Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington metro area at the end of last year was 5.4 percent. That was well below the national unemployment rate of 6.7 percent and slightly better than metropolitan Pittsburgh's year-end unemployment rate of 5.7 percent.

But several cities on WalletHub's list have lower unemployment rates than the Texas metropolis.

Minneapolis, where the year-end jobless rate of 4.3 percent was the best among large U.S. metro areas, placed 19th on WalletHub's list.

New Orleans, where the December unemployment rate was 4.7 percent, placed 29th on WalletHub's list.

Mr. Kiernan said using employment growth and the unemployment trend as factors tends to favor cities that were hit harder by the recession and have more room to bounce back.

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. Nebraska, which along with South Dakota had a year-end unemployment rate of 3.6 percent, has only one city on the list: Omaha, which placed 22nd.

Utah, Iowa, Vermont and Wyoming, where year-end unemployment rates ranged from 4 to 4.4 percent, are not represented on WalletHub's roster either.


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

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