The 9 best US cities for millennials looking for a job

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Sunny skies and sizzling job markets seem to go together: The so-called Sun Belt dominates a new ranking of best American cities for job-seekers of all ages by employment site Indeed. Both the number one and number two spots went to cities in the same state, Miami and Orlando in Florida, respectively.

The economists at Indeed compiled the 25-city list based on key factors like salary levels, job security, work-life balance and whether the local labor market favored job-seekers, rather than hiring managers.

"The Sun Belt continues to be a region of high-growth and opportunity as companies and workers alike have moved toward strong job markets," Paul D'Arcy, Indeed senior vice president, said in a statement about the report.

Incidentally, the list of 25 cities included several urban centers which also rank high in studies of top places for millennials, including a recent Trulia report on cities where people ages 28 to 32 fare best financially compared to older workers. In order to zoom in on metropolises great for both job-seekers and millennials, Mic cross-referenced the two lists and chose the nine places within the 25 that also ranked in the better half of cities for younger residents.

What did we find? The nine cities below not only boast relatively healthy salaries and homeownership rates for millennials — but they are also great places if you're hunting for a new job. Here are the top spots: 

9. Phoenix, Arizona 

Standout job-seeker feature: Higher salaries than in 84% of comparable cities

Average income for residents age 28 to 32: $39,650

Many of the top cities are located in the so-called Sun Belt of southern states like Arizona. Source: f11photo/Shutterstock
Many of the top cities are located in the so-called Sun Belt of southern states like Arizona.  f11photo/Shutterstock

Of the cities listed here, Phoenix is the least friendly to job-seekers (versus hiring managers). But those who do successfully nab a job can count on relatively high salaries, above-average job security and healthy work-life balance. Millennials in particular fare well there, and are in the top-half of the country in terms of earnings and homeownership.

Need another reason to move? Travel and Leisure recently chose Phoenix as having the best pizza scene in the country.

8. Charlotte, North Carolina 

Standout job-seeker feature: The job market is more favorable to workers than in 88% of comparable cities

Average income for residents age 28 to 32: $40,567

Charlotte is home to a number of corporate headquarters, particularly in financial services. Source: Sean Pavone/Shutterstock
Charlotte is home to a number of corporate headquarters, particularly in financial services.  Sean Pavone/Shutterstock

Charlotte ranks in the 88th percentile for thirsty employers, but scores lower in terms of work-life balance. That might have something to do with the city's large financial services presence. Sometimes called the "Wall Street of the South," Charlotte is home to Bank of America's corporate headquarters and Wells Fargo's East Coast headquarters, among many other banks.

The upside? Healthy pay for young workers.

7. San Antonio, Texas

Standout job-seeker feature: Job stability and opportunities for advancement are better than in 76% of comparable cities.

Average income for residents age 28 to 32: $38,214

Texas cities like San Antonio and Austin fared well on both rankings. Source: Sean Pavone/Shutterstock
Texas cities like San Antonio and Austin fared well on both rankings.  Sean Pavone/Shutterstock

San Antonio boasts low unemployment and a relatively low cost of living, making it a great destination for millennial job seekers. Cheap rent and pretty scenery don't hurt, either.

6. San Francisco, California 

Standout job-seeker feature: Both job stability and work-life balance are better than in 86% of comparable cities.

Average income for residents age 28 to 32: $67,785

You need a high-paying job to afford it, but luckily there appear to be lots of those. Source: kropic1/Shutterstock
You need a high-paying job to afford it, but luckily there appear to be lots of those.  kropic1/Shutterstock

As you might expect, San Francisco is a coveted destination among millennials, with lots of high-paying jobs. That makes it a pretty good city for young folks to end up in, though housing is expensive. Luckily, there are still many ways young workers can save money while living in San Fran.

5. Las Vegas, Nevada 

Standout job-seeker feature: Work-life balance is better than in 82% of comparable cities.

Average income for residents age 28 to 32: $37,252

Not just casino jobs, either. Source: Paul Brady Photography/Shutterstock
Not just casino jobs, either.  Paul Brady Photography/Shutterstock

Workers in Las Vegas don't get paid as much as some of the other cities in the ranking, but Indeed found they report high levels of job security and work-life balance. Plus the city ranks high as a great place for female entrepreneurs.

4. Jacksonville, Florida 

Standout job-seeker feature: The job market is more favorable to workers than in 94% of comparable cities.

Average income for residents age 28 to 32: $36,642

Florida was one of two states with multiple cities in both rankings.Source: Sean Pavone/Shutterstock
Florida was one of two states with multiple cities in both rankings.  Sean Pavone/Shutterstock

The job market in Jacksonville heavily favors job-seekers, Indeed found, putting the city in the 94th percentile. The wages are a little lower than other cities on the list, although cheap housing helps make up for it. 

3. Austin, Texas

Standout job-seeker feature: The job market is more favorable to workers than in 90% of comparable cities.

Average income for residents age 28 to 32: $42,550

Despite a growing tech economy, the state government is still the city's biggest employer. Source: f11photo/Shutterstock
Despite a growing tech economy, the state government is still the city's biggest employer.  f11photo/Shutterstock

Austin's millennials are pretty much in the middle of the pack in terms of earnings and homeownership, but overall Austin fits into the 90th percentile in terms of a job market that favors workers. Plus, Austin ranks high on other recent lists of best places for young workers, thanks to millennial-friendly features and neighborhoods like South River City

2. Raleigh, North Carolina 

Standout job-seeker feature: The job market is more favorable to workers than in 100% of comparable cities.

Average income for residents age 28 to 32: $41,008

Another state capital, Raleigh also boasts a hopping downtown, pictured .Source: Konstantin L/Shutterstock
Another state capital, Raleigh also boasts a hopping downtown, pictured .  Konstantin L/Shutterstock

Raleigh has the best job market in the country for job seekers, Indeed found, though its scores for work-life balance and job security leave something to be desired. The city also ranks high among others in the U.S. for a large proportion of educated women and a narrowing gender pay gap.

1. Orlando, Florida 

Standout job-seeker feature: The job market is more favorable to workers than in 98% of comparable cities, and Orlando has better job security than 94% of comparable cities. 

Average income for residents age 28 to 32: $34,778

Orlando narrowly loses to Miami in terms of being good to job-seekers, but Orlando appears to be better for millennials.Source: ESB Professional/Shutterstock
Orlando narrowly loses to Miami in terms of being good to job-seekers, but Orlando appears to be better for millennials.  ESB Professional/Shutterstock

Orlando has abundant jobs, particularly in entertainment and leisure, which comprise the city's largest industries because of its theme parks.

Its job market favors job seekers more than 98% of U.S. cities, although that doesn't necessarily translate into higher wages. In general, Orlando is a hot city among millennials looking to buy a home, features a narrowing average gender wage gap, and ranks high on other "best places to live" lists thanks to a high quality of life and relatively low costs of living.

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