Best Cities for Older Job Seekers
Not only is the grass greener on the other side, but it turns out the greenbacks might be, too. We’ve identified 10 towns that provide above-average opportunities for job seekers age 50 and up, along with a higher quality of life because of cultural amenities, good health care facilities, public transportation and other factors. Ready to look for your next opportunity? Consider the following cities.Alamy, Getty Images, Istock 1 of 13
Bureau of Labor Statistics data show that job growth in the greater Atlanta area rose 2.7 percent over the past year — the ninth-best increase among large metro areas in the country. “The employment outlook right now in Atlanta is good, and there is considerable interest in hiring experienced people,” says Tom Cunningham, chief economist for the Metro Atlanta Chamber. Plus, he notes that Atlanta boasts a cost of living that’s 98 percent of the national average, the median home price is only a little over $250,000, property taxes are fairly low and personal income tax is graduated between only 1 and 6 percent. And the icing on the cake? “You can golf pretty much year-round,” Cunningham says.Alamy 2 of 13
Hiring prospects are rosy in Austin, where the unemployment rate ranks fifth best (at a low 3.2 percent) and employment growth places 17th best (2.2 percent) among major metro areas, based on BLS numbers. “Austin’s economy will expand strongly over the coming year, lifted by information technology, professional services and a range of personal services including health care,” says Koropeckyj. In addition, she expects the influx of well-paid professionals to drive gains in the housing market and broader economic growth for the area over the long-term.
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Dallas had the sixth-highest year-over-year employment rate increase (3.3 percent) for a large metro area, according to the newest BLS data. It’s also a popular destination, with a 3 percent increase in residents between the ages of 50 and 69 from 2009 and 2014, say Headlight Data, an online data tool, and the U.S. Census Bureau. “The Dallas region is one of the leading major metro job producers in the country,” says Olivia Breedlove, director of communications and marketing for the Dallas Regional Chamber, who adds that the region’s average annual wage was $49,300 in 2015 and 426,000 new jobs are projected by 2021. Plus, with no state income tax and housing prices 24 percent lower than the national average, Dallas remains an affordable relocation destination.Istock 4 of 13
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It’s easy to see why job hunters are high on the Mile-High City: Denver enjoys the second-lowest unemployment rate at 2.9 percent and fourth-highest employment growth rate at 3.6 percent among large metros in the U.S., according to the BLS. “In the last year, Denver added 46,500 new jobs. We’re seeing a lot of those jobs grow in construction and hospitality but also in professional and business services,” says Kelly Brough, president of the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce. In addition, with a median household income of over $71,000 in the metro area, many residents enjoy a high quality of life in a city known for embracing newcomers.
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Among major cities ranked by the BLS, Minneapolis has the fourth-lowest unemployment rate at 3.1 percent and, in 2015, had the eighth-highest real median wage at $41,880, based on Headlight Data and the BLS. The 50 and up set are also migrating here in greater numbers. Ask Jonathan Weinhagen, president of the Minneapolis Regional Chamber of Commerce, and he’ll tell you that his town’s talent inventory is running low, making it a great time to seek a job in the city. Need further incentive? Experts predict that the Minneapolis region will face a shortfall of 100,000 skilled workers by 2020, adds Weinhagen.Istock 7 of 13
BLS data indicate that, over the past year, employment has grown 2.4 percent in the greater Nashville area while unemployment has dropped to 3.9 percent. Hot jobs in the Music City include architecture and engineering; arts, design, entertainment, sports and media; building and grounds cleaning and maintenance; and business and financial operations, according to the Tennessee Department of Labor & Workforce Development. Residents can also enjoy the vibrant music culture and extensive health care offerings throughout the area.
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Greater Orlando enjoyed 4 percent job growth over the previous year (the top ranking among large metros) and a moderately low 4.5 percent unemployment rate, reports the BLS. In-demand occupations in this area include physician assistants; cement masons and concrete finishers; physical therapists and their assistants; meeting and convention planners; marketing specialists; medical secretaries; and construction, painting and maintenance professionals, according to the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity and BLS. The area is also known for its Disney theme parks, which can be a draw for family members looking for an extra reason to visit.Getty Images 9 of 13
BLS numbers show that Richmond has a comparatively low 4.2 percent unemployment rate and moderate 1.9 percent employment growth over the previous year. Among the city’s notable occupational areas of growth over this period are professional and business services (4 percent employment increase), trade, transportation and utilities (up 3.5 percent), and educational and health services as well as leisure and hospitality (both sectors up 2.7 percent), based on the latest BLS data. The area is also rich with history from the Revolutionary War, Civil War and Colonial period, offering plenty of spots to visit on days off.
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Salt Lake City
Salt Lake City ranks third in the nation when it comes to lowest unemployment rate for a major metro at 3.0 percent. It’s also fifth best in employment growth at 3.4 percent per the latest BLS data. Median wages also increased 5.6 percent between 2005 and 2015, the seventh best for a major city, based on Headlight Data and BLS numbers. “Because the Utah economy is growing so rapidly, it’s a challenge for employers to fill jobs here,” says Nick Como, senior communications and marketing director for the Downtown Salt Lake City Alliance, a business improvement group that manages Salt Lake City’s Central Business District. “From bartenders to engineers, from skilled to unskilled labor, there are plenty of opportunities here.” Average rents are cheaper here, too: $1,019 versus $3,233 a month in San Francisco.Istock 11 of 13
America’s coffee capital added a robust 92,600 jobs between Septembers 2015 and 2016, per the BLS; these hirers included Facebook, Zillow, Expedia, Salesforce and Amazon (the latter draws nearly 10 percent of its 270,000 worldwide employee workforce from Seattle). With healthy employment growth — 3.7 percent over the past year, third highest among large metro cities, per BLS data — Seattle shines above the pack. In 2015 it also ranked fifth highest — at $46,330 — in real median wages and 10th highest in wage growth (with a 4.3 percent increase observed between 2005 and 2015) among major metropolitan areas, according to Headlight Data and the BLS. The state’s Employment Security Department forecasts healthy growth for professional and business services, construction jobs and tech. Retail hiring increased 5.6 percent last year in greater Seattle, too.
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