In general, the southeastern United States ranks relatively low among the best places to hunt for jobs. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, unemployment rates for North Carolina and Georgia ranked 47th and 40th, respectively, in May 2013. Florida, North Carolina, Tennessee and South Carolina also ranked in the bottom third. However, good job opportunities exist in certain cities in these states.
Florida’s capital city, Tallahassee, has one of the state’s strongest job markets. In September 2012, the city had about 137,000 jobs, and the number is on the rise. In fact, Tallahassee ranked 93rd among U.S. metropolitan areas in May 2013 with an unemployment rate of 6.1 percent. Gainesville ranked lowest of Florida’s cities with a 5.3 unemployment rate, and a fair number of the 117,000 jobs in Alachua County, which includes Gainesville, are directly or indirectly related to the University of Florida. However, no city in the southeast has more jobs available than Miami. The Miami metro area employed 2.3 million workers in March 2013, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. That includes 34,300 jobs added between March 2012 and March 2013. With job growth of 1.5 percent, the Miami metro area matched the national average over the one-year period. Approximately half of the new jobs were in the trade, transportation and utilities sectors. Jobs in leisure and hospitality also increased, and improvements in the housing and construction markets offer hope that Miami’s job market will continue to rise.
While the sheer number of jobs available in Alabama’s cities may not match the numbers for Atlanta or Miami, the state’s low unemployment rate makes it a great place to look for work. Birmingham ranks as the best city for job availability. During 2012, the city ranked among the nation’s top markets for job growth, according to "The Birmingham News." The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that May 2013 unemployment in Birmingham was 5.5 percent, and more than a half-million citizens had jobs. The fastest-growing sector in May 2013 was construction, which employed 26,400 people in the Birmingham metro area. Auburn also ranks high among Alabama’s list of top job markets. It was 38th nationally among metro areas in May 2013 with an unemployment rate of 5.0. Huntsville ranked third lowest for unemployment rating at 5.5 percent in May 2013.
South Carolina Cities
Charleston, already historic, appears to be a city bound for growth and prosperity. After all, aircraft manufacturer Boeing is working on building a new plant expected to bring 3,000 to 4,000 more jobs to the area. Nationally, the Charleston metro area had the state’s lowest unemployment rate – 6.4 percent – in May 2013, a slight uptick from the 5.9 percent rate reported for April 2013. There were 337,700 jobs filled. Charleston also has a strong shipping industry. A second city of job growth is Greenville, which "BusinessWeek" ranked third among the nation’s strongest job markets. The city has a strong manufacturing sector led by Proterra, which builds buses, and GE Aviation, which built a new production facility in 2013.
In North Carolina, Raleigh continues to add jobs. In fact, "BusinessWeek" ranked it the nation’s No. 5 job market. The city’s 1.1 million workers include thousands who work in transportation, utilities, information and finance. Raleigh is part of the state’s Research Triangle area, which also includes North Carolina State University, Duke University and the University of North Carolina. Along with the universities, other top employers include WakeMed Health and Hospitals and Rex Healthcare, according to the city’s economic development department. Nashville, Tennessee, offers ample jobs, too. A 2012 Gallup Poll showed that job growth in Nashville makes it one of the nation's top areas for job-hunters with about 37 percent of employers planning to hire new workers. The city features a new $623 million downtown convention center complex and Vanderbilt University, and the "New York Times" reported in January 2013 that the city's healthcare management, auto manufacturing and religious publishing markets are strengths.
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Unemployment Rates for States
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Miami Area Employment-March 2013
- The Birmingham News: Employment Survey Shows Healthy Job Market in Birmingham Area
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Charleston-North Charleston-Summerville, SC
- New York Times: Nashville's Latest Big Hit Could Be the City Itself
- Gallup: Oklahoma City Leads Large Cities in Job Creation
Based in Central Florida, Ron White has worked as professional journalist since 2001. He specializes in sports and business. White started his career as a sportswriter and later worked as associate editor for Maintenance Sales News and as the assistant editor for "The Observer," a daily newspaper based in New Smyrna Beach, Fla. White has written more than 2,000 news and sports stories for newspapers and websites. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism from Eastern Illinois University.