Where to Move for a Job in X Industry

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the number of Americans who moved in 2016 fell to an all-time low of just 11.2 percent. In response, President Trump said in an interview that people are going to have to consider picking up and moving if they want to find better work opportunities – and experts think he might be onto something.

While just 1 in 5 Americans are relocating to pursue a better professional opportunity, the right information could help change that perspective. To learn more, we analyzed data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and a variety of other sources to determine which metropolitan areas have the most potential for industries ranging from manufacturing and construction to health care and food services. Curious which industries are striking gold in your area? Read on to learn more.


Key Findings

  • Technology was the most common factor influencing the changing landscape of many industries in the American economy.
  • New jobs in drilling and mining were generally clustered together in Texas and along the Gulf of Mexico.
  • California and Texas reported growth in nearly every industry analyzed (with the exception of manufacturing and farming in Texas).
  • Jobs in manufacturing were the most limited by region –appearing only in a few Southern states and the Midwest.
  • Every state in the country reported some form of job growth in at least one of the seventeen industries we analyzed.


Major manufacturing

Overall, employment in the manufacturing industry has decreased in recent decades, but in recent years, there has been an uptick in jobs thanks to technology and a resurgence in American manufacturing. In 2016, manufacturing output reached an all-time high, with production being 47 percent more than 20 years prior. Automation, robotics, and the potential application of new technology (like self-driving cars) have changed the manufacturing landscape, revitalizing the possibility of future endeavors.

  1. Danville, Illinois –With average monthly incomes of over $4,300, an average commute to work of just 18 minutes, and a high score on our ranking for the low cost of both goods and services, this small metropolitan area isn’t just the best place in the country to work in the mining industry, it’s built on mining. With a score of over 74 out of 100 on our scale, Danville, Illinois was one of the first places to practice open-pit mining techniques and lakes there today were been built from forming mining sites
  2. Carbondale-Marion, Illinois –Scoring nearly a 72 on our scale, the average monthly earnings of someone working manufacturing in Carbondale-Marion average over $3,800. Where the average commute to work will take you less than 20 minutes and the median gross rent is only $662, this metropolitan area offers a higher density of people than Danville, but many of the same opportunities. Carbondale may be home to the South Illinois University campus, but its growing employment rate and low cost of living help make it one of the two best places in the U.S. for a job in manufacturing.

Want to get in on cutting-edge advancements in the manufacturing sphere outside of our top 2 picks? These other metropolitan areas we identified could help you do just that. Leading the way, Elkhart-Goshen, Indiana, has seen more than 27,000 new manufacturing jobs since 2010, accounting for over 37 percent of the workforce. While the city may have a slightly higher cost of living than the national average, it ranks as one of the best areas for job growth of any kind.

Two other American cities – Spartanburg, South Carolina, and Kokomo, Indiana, – may represent a lower percentage of the total manufacturing workforce (between 21 and 26 percent), but they have seen thousands of new jobs in manufacturing over the last six years.


Better builders

The impact of technology on construction goes far beyond automation. Including construction software designed to streamline communication between points of contact, advancements in technology have been utilized to augment reality, create more environmentally friendly processes and attract new workforce demographics.

  1. Fond du Lac, Wisconsin –With a score of nearly 73 on our scale, this lakefront city has everything from outdoor recreation to old historic charm –and happens to be the best place in the U.S. for anyone looking to land a job in the construction industry. With median earnings of $51,789 for construction jobs in the area, less than 21 minutes for the average commute to work, and high scores for the low cost of good and services in the area, Fond du Lac, Wisconsin may not be one of the fastest growing cities for construction jobs, but with its below average unemployment, it could be one of the most consistent.
  2. Wenatchee, Washington –In the Northwestern corner of the U.S., Wenatchee, Washington ranked as the second best place for construction jobs in the U.S. with a score of nearly 73 across the various factors we considered. Median earnings rack up to over $66,600 in this mountainous metropolitan area. With a shorter average commute (roughly 18 minutes) than Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, even lower costs of goods and services, and lack of state income tax make Wenatchee, Washington a strong contender for second best city for construction jobs on our list.

Given the recent changes to the industry, some metropolitan areas have seen dramatic growth in construction employment since 2006 compared to our top two cities. Based on our analysis, Houston, Texas, has added more than 86,000 construction jobs since 2006, over 60,000 more positions than any other city in the U.S. The cost of living in Houston may be high, but with a median household income of over $85,600 a year and sustained job growth over time, construction jobs in the Southern heart of Texas could be worth the relocation.

Other Southern and Southeastern cities like Austin, Texas, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and Fort Myers, Florida, also made our list for cities accounting for the largest workforce percentage and highest job growth since 2010.


Digging deeper

Since September 2014, the mining industry in America has lost 191,000 jobs, including 7,000 that disappeared in April 2016. Still, mining employment peaked in 2014, accounting for more than 852,500 jobs in total. As the industry levels off, certain metropolitan areas may offer the best opportunities for Americans looking to make it in mining.

  1. Carbondale-Marion, Illinois – Thanks in part to the low cost of living in Carbondale-Marion and steady job growth, it scored over a 70 on our list making it the best place to find a job in the U.S. in the drilling and mining industry. With earnings over $67,000 annually and low cost of rent, goods, and services, there’s no better place in the U.S. if you’re looking for jobs in drilling.
  2. Midland, Texas –More than just median earnings over $77,000 in the drilling and mining field, Midland, Texas also happens to be one of the fastest growing places in the country for jobs in this sector. While the median rent prices were significantly higher than in Carbondale-Marion, an average commute of roughly 18 minutes, low unemployment rates, and tremendous job growth help make Midland our second pick for best places to move for a job in drilling.

In general, the best growth in gas extraction, quarrying oil and mining is in Southern cities located near the Gulf of Mexico. With 11,335 new jobs in the Houston area alone, several Texas cities including Midland, Corpus Christi and Longview account for some of the highest growth and the largest concentration of miners. In only one Texas city, Wichita Falls, was there a regression in the number of mining and oil extraction jobs across the state.

Other cities outside of Texas that saw a significant increase in the number of mining jobs since 2010 included Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, Greeley, Colorado, and Anchorage, Alaska.


An industry in motion

As with nearly everything in the U.S., technology is changing the face of the transportation industry. Self-driving cars have been plucked from science fiction stories and are now being tested and “driven” on the roads today. Even automated production will help eliminate additional costs for domestic manufacturing, helping to close the gap between products produced overseas and shipped to the U.S. and those produced entirely in America. Political reform could also help boost the number of transportation jobs in coming years.

  1. Danville, IllinoisThis small, quiet Midwestern area may have a history rooted in mining, but its economy has diversified enough to make it one of the leading places in the country for a variety of industries, including transportation and warehousing. Having earned nearly a 74 on our scale, and with median earnings over $41,000, the combination of low costs of good and services in addition to lower rent prices and an 18 minute commute to work, Danville, Illinois ranked as the best place in the country to move for someone looking for work in these industries.
  2. Carbondale-Marion, Illinois – Like Danville, Illinois, the diversity of economy in Carbondale-Marion makes it an attractive living location for a variety of different working opportunities. In transportation and warehousing, the median earnings amount to over $42,000 and the median rent prices are just $662.

From the Northeast to the West Coast, there are other metropolitan areas worth considering if you’re looking for the best opportunities in the transportation and warehousing industry. Leading the way with over 50,200 new jobs since 2010 and accounting for more than 6 percent of the total workforce, Chicago, Illinois, ranked as one of the top cities for growth in this field. As a major metropolitan city, the cost of living in Chicago is only 8 percent over the national average.

Like Chicago, the Riverside-San Bernardino, California, area has also added more than 43,000 jobs to the transportation and warehousing industry, followed by Atlanta, Georgia, and Miami, Florida.


Putting bread on the table

Technology, better access to data and information and biological advancements to fend off weeds and pests are all playing a role in the evolution of the agriculture industry, but perhaps none is as relevant as the role demand will play in the potential for job growth. As the world population grows, the demand for increased food supply and the need for advancements in the agricultural industry could be the biggest factors changing the economy.

  1. Danville, Illinois –Outdoor recreation and small town feel aren’t all that make Danville, Illinois stand out. It ranked as our No. 1 place in the country to move for jobs in agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting. Jobs in those industries earn a median income of more than $41,000, commute only 18 minutes to work, and report consistent job representation in the industries
  2. Mankato-North Mankato, Minnesota –A similarly small metropolitan area, Mankato, Minnesota earned the second spot on our list. With a median income of over $31,300 and median rent prices at just $836, residents in Mankato spend just 17 minutes commuting to jobs in agriculture and forestry. Combined with high scores representing the low cost of goods and services and below average unemployment rates Mankato earned a top slot as a great place to move for job growth in this industry.

For new growth in a classic industry, one state stands out among the rest as leading the way in agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting: California. With multiple cities contributing thousands of new jobs since 2010, the Golden State could be among the most ideal locations for Americans looking to advance their careers in this field.

In Salinas, California, just 59 miles outside of San Jose and Silicon Valley, over 79,500 new jobs since 2010 account for over 19 percent of the total industry. Farther south, Bakersfield, California, added over 65,000 new agriculture jobs to the U.S. economy, while Visalia-Porterville and Fresno, California, added between 38,000 and 39,000 new jobs each.


Amazing accommodations

In 2017, Americans spent more money eating out than on groceries and home-cooked meals for the first time in history. Perhaps more importantly, travel to some of the top tourist destinations in the country also hit record highs in 2016 and is expected to continue growing in the future.

  1. Las Vegas – Patterson-Henderson, Nevada –If the bright lights, endless rows of casinos and restaurants, and world’s most famous entertainment didn’t give it away, Las Vegas, Nevada ranked as the number one place to move for a job in accommodations and food services. Earning a median income over $23,000 and with median rent of just $1,031, one of the biggest downsides to life in Las Vegas might be the commute (nearly 25 minutes). Despite Las Vegas’ status as one of the premier travel destinations in the U.S., the cost of goods and services remain low helping to elevate the city to the top of our list.
  2. Carson City, Nevada –Without the same level of iconicism or tourism, Carson City, Nevada still ranked second overall on our list for places to move for a job in food services and hospitality. The median earnings might lower than Vegas (just under $25,000), but so is the rent ($873). Coupled with lower cost of living and even shorter commute times, Carson City doesn’t offer the same luster as Las Vegas but it does offer plenty of opportunity.

If you’re looking to capitalize on trends in tourism and vacation, Orlando, Florida, and the surrounding areas should be at the top of your mind if you’re interested in accommodation and food services. As home to theme park giants like Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando, the metropolitan area has added over 50,400 jobs to the U.S. economy since 2010. In 2017, Forbes marked Orlando as the second fastest growing city in America.

Following Orlando, other popular travel destinations in the U.S. – including Las Vegas, Nevada, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and Honolulu, Hawaii – ranked among the highest contributors to the accommodation and food service industry, adding over a combined 73,000 jobs to the workforce since 2010.


Healthy job growth

As with every other industry, health care is not outside the reach of advancements in technology. However, shifting political appropriations and potential changes in federal legislation, combined with the regularly rising costs of health care, could be playing an even more significant role in the lives of working Americans.

  1. Danville, Illinois – As with several of the other industries we examined, Danville, Illinois ranked first over all for places to move if you’re looking for a new opportunity in health care or social services. The median income rate across the industry comes in at just over $34,000 and exceptionally low rent prices help keep Danville high on our list across various trade types.
  2. Rochester, Minnesota –With nearly a 73 on our score chart, Rochester, Minnesota ranked second overall for places to move if you’re looking for a job in health care or social services. Median earnings significantly eclipse that of Danville, Illinois (a median of nearly $51,000) and rent prices were only slightly higher at $843. The average commute will only take you 20 minutes, and goods and services won’t break the bank either.

For men and women looking for job opportunities in the health care and social services industry, the strongest growth was found in metropolitan areas all across the U.S. With an increase of over 6,000 new jobs since 2010 and comprising more than 33 percent of the total workforce, Rochester, Minnesota, ranked as one of the best cities for work in this field. The cost of living in Rochester is 2 percent below the national average, but job growth is on the rise and expected to continue growing. With institutions like the Mayo Clinic employing thousands of Americans in the region, Rochester isn’t just a place for growth in the health care sector –it’s an opportunity for professional stability.

Both Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and Iowa City, Iowa, added over 5,400 new jobs to the health care industry, followed by Duluth, Minnesota, Tyler, Texas, and Pueblo, Colorado.



Across the U.S., an ever-changing economy and new technology are changing the landscape of some of the country’s oldest industries. While the overall employment for some of these industries may have declined in recent years, certain cities and states are still seeing growth and adding new job opportunities to the workforce. As our interactive guide reveals, there are key spots around the nation for people working in anything from retail to arts and entertainment and educational services. And even a few that might be worth considering for a future home.



We collected data on 17 industries from five sources: U.S. Census Bureau American Community Survey, Bureau of Economic Analysis, Taxfoundation.org, National Conference of State Legislatures, and U.S. Census Bureau Quarterly Workforce Indicator for the most recent data on 11 factors. The variables and their respective source are listed below:

Median Travel Time to Work, by metropolitan statistical area – U.S. Census American Community Survey, 2016

Regional Price Parities (All Goods and Services), by metropolitan statistical area – Bureau of Economic Analysis, 2015

Regional Price Parities (Goods), by metropolitan statistical area – Bureau of Economic Analysis, 2015

Regional Price Parities (Other Services), by metropolitan statistical area – Bureau of Economic Analysis, 2015

Median Gross Rent, by metropolitan statistical area – U.S. Census Bureau American Community Survey, 2016

Unemployment Rate, by metropolitan statistical area – U.S. Census Bureau American Community Survey, 2016

Percentage of Workforce in Industry, by metropolitan statistical area – U.S. Census Bureau American Community Survey, 2016

*Income Tax Rate, by state – Taxfoundation.org, 2016

Median Earnings by Industry, by metropolitan statistical area – U.S. Census Bureau American Community Survey, 2016

Presence of State Nondiscrimination Laws and Policies (Gender and Sexuality), by state – National Conference of State Legislatures, 2015

Net Job Change (Number of New Jobs), by metropolitan statistical area – U.S. Census Bureau Quarterly Workforce Indicator, 2010 to 2016

*This was calculated by applying the corresponding tax bracket to the median earnings by industry. In some cases, states had a flat tax rate or no income tax rate.

The variables were then weighted for importance by 300 Americans that represented one of the industries we examined from Amazon’s Mechanical Turk. Five industries had enough respondents to weight their industries individually: Educational Services; Health Care and Social Services; Professional, Scientific and Technical Services; Finance and Insurance; and Retail Trade. The remaining industries were weighed using an aggregate of all responses. A complete list of the industries we examined is included below:

Accommodation and Food Services

Administrative, Support and Waste Management

Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Hunting

Arts, Entertainment and Recreation


Educational Services

Finance and Insurance

Health Care and Social Services



Mining, Quarrying, Oil and Gas Extraction

Professional, Scientific and Technical Services

Real Estate, Rental and Leasing

Retail Trade

Transportation and Warehousing


Wholesale Trade

The variables were then weighted. Each location received a score on a scale of 0 to 100, with 100 being a perfect score, and 0 being the absolute lowest possible score. The value of each variable was determined by the weights. The weights applied to each variable can be found here.


In three industries, median earnings data were not available for some metropolitan statistical areas. A list of those areas and their respective industries can be found here.



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