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Looking for a New Job & Willing to Move? These Metro Areas Have the Hottest Job Markets

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It's well established that large metro areas including San Francisco, New York, Boston, Los Angeles, Chicago and Washington, D.C., are flush with jobs, many of them paying more than $100,000. But these cities also come with a high cost of living, heavy traffic and housing prices that often make it cots-prohibitive to buy, even with a higher salary.

Taking all those factors into account (as opposed to simply looking at numbers of jobs available), industry sources, including analysts and a survey, WalletHub devised a list of metro areas to seek out if you are looking for a new job. While moving is not always easy, in the current economy, it's typically easier to get a bump in salary by taking a new job instead of relying on a raise.

Best Cities for Jobs

Even though unemployment has fallen to 3.8 percent, a nearly 50-year low, not all metro areas are reaping the rewards equally. If you are looking for work or looking to relocate and possibly get a promotion in the process, these are the 10 hottest cities that tick off the most checkboxes for quality of life, pay, overall job availability and outlook for future career growth.

  • Scottsdale, Arizona
  • Columbia, Maryland
  • Orlando, Florida
  • San Francisco, California
  • Colorado Springs, Colorado
  • Portland, Maine
  • Plano, Texas
  • Washington, D.C.
  • Boston, Massachusetts
  • Chandler, Arizona

Cities That Will Pay You to Move

If the above list of places doesn't excite you, there are also cities actively seeking out new residents with grants, loans, housing credits and the creation of job hubs. The metro areas are scattered across the country and vary in climate, but what they have in common is that they tend to be smaller cities with a lower cost of living who are actively looking to add knowledge economy, STEM and STEAM grads, and even remote workers to the makeup of the population.

  • Tulsa, Oklahoma, has a Tulsa Remote program that is providing grants and other benefits to remote workers who can commit to living in the region for at least a year.

  • Baltimore, Maryland, is luring residents with housing incentives through its Buying Into Baltimore offer. In addition to looking for more workers, their aim is also to fill vacant properties.

  • St. Clair, Michigan, which borders Lake Huron and Canada might be an option for Millennials who love winter. They are seeking recent grads with STEAM degrees through their Come Home Award to relocate to the area.

  • New Haven, Connecticut, is trying to attract home buyers with interest-free loans and other purchasing assistance.

  • Hamilton, Ohio, less than an hour north of Cincinnati, is offering cash to recent grads. Only those who have graduated within the last seven years, ideally with a STEAM degree, are eligible through their TAP program.

Questions to Ask Before You Move

Before you pack up a moving truck and head to one of the country's top spots for employment, consider a few factors to ensure it's worth the effort, even if you expect a bigger paycheck. Experts advise making a list and asking yourself the following:

  • Is this a long-term job opportunity, and are there other employers in the area if it doesn't work out? If you are looking for a tenure-track position as a professor at a university, this may not apply, but be sure to understand what the job market is like if you are laid off, or for some expected reason the job is not a fit.

  • Will you have personal support? If you are leaving an area where you have a large number of family and friends, will it be easy to find a new support network in the community?

  • What does your partner think? For anyone with a significant other, you're going to have to decide mutually if the move will be beneficial to both careers and if the new city ticks off the boxes for livability.

  • Is housing affordable? Even with a great new job and boost in income, some areas, including those with the best job markets, have incredibly high rents or home prices, meaning that you may need to devote a much larger portion of your salary to housing.

Kristin Amico is a career and business writer who spent more than a decade managing creative teams at digital agencies. She has written for The Muse, The Independent and USA Today.

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