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Report Names Best Cities for Job Seekers

Published: Monday, Feb. 24, 2014 2:30 p.m. CDT

By Sally Deneen

The 10 best cities for job seekers don't include Chicago, according to NerdWallet. But the South fares well – with three cities hailing from Texas alone, including Austin on top and Fort Worth ranking third. San Antonio ranks 10th.

Austin's explosive growth and major employers such as IBM prompted NerdWallet to hand it the No. 1 spot in the rankings, which consider three factors key: affordable living costs, low unemployment and high population growth. Washington, D.C., places second, partly for having a high median income – above $45,000, according to NerdWallet.

Fort Worth, part of the Dallas Metroplex and home to such corporations as Lockheed Martin and American Airlines, still "retains its western spirit and culture," NerdWallet notes, and has low unemployment. The unemployment rate in the Dallas-Fort Worth area fell from 5.8 percent to 5.6 percent in the year ending November 2013, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.

By contrast, unemployment in Grundy County came in at 8.3 percent, just a little below the state's rate. Illinois' unemployment rate stood among the nation's worst as of December, at 8.6 percent. Only Rhode Island and Nevada had worse unemployment rates, according to BLS.

Illinois is poised to have among the worst job growth nationally in 2014, according to Moody's Analytics statistics cited by Stateline, the daily news service of Pew Charitable Trusts. Meanwhile, Texas and California are expected to together add more than 571,000 new jobs this year.

The Midwest fares poorly overall in the "Best Cities for Job Seekers" report by NerdWallet. Only two Midwestern cities appear among the top 20.

At No. 7, Omaha, Neb., gets props in the NerdWallet report for its healthcare industry jobs, among other attributes. Minneapolis, Minn., ranks 8th. It's home to such big employers as Target and Wells Fargo.

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