Where struggling Americans can find a fresh start
Looking to start over? Find a new job? A new house? Here are some U.S. markets where jobs are available and real estate is affordable.
Thousands of Americans across the U.S. are wondering if they would be better off somewhere else. The question is where?
As unemployment and foreclosures continue to rise, stocks keep fluctuating and cash-strapped state and city governments move to increase taxes and trim services, many people are finding that careers and communities they once believed secure are no longer dependable. They may have lost their job or fear losing their job; they may be stuck paying more mortgage than their home is worth; or they may have seen their family's quality of life evaporate. For those troubled Americans who are willing to relocate, the U.S. can still be a land of opportunity.
No state is totally buffered from the downturn, but several have gotten a boost from the energy, military and agricultural sectors. The healthiest states include Alaska, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas and Wyoming. In the Washington, D.C., area, federal government and defense jobs have given the economy a boost. And Iowa, which has seen its economy somewhat deteriorate, has also benefited from agricultural and alternative-energy jobs.
Fargo, N.D.: Jobs, safety, schools
Moving isn't an option for many Americans tied down by family responsibilities and houses they can't sell. Others are reluctant to leave relatives, friends, churches and school districts to make a fresh start in an unfamiliar place.
For job seekers with some flexibility, relocation can open up opportunities, says Ernie Goss, professor of economics at Creighton University in Omaha, Neb. Some of the best job markets, such as Omaha and Fargo, N.D., are also places with low crime, decent schools and a low cost of living, Goss says.
"If people are looking for a job and they're in Detroit, they're in the wrong place," Goss says. "They need to be considering geographic mobility."
BusinessWeek.com, working with survey results from Milwaukee staffing firm Manpower, came up with the best places to start over. These are areas where the greatest proportion of employers said they planned to hire in the next quarter, based on a survey of 28,348 U.S. employers that Manpower conducted in April.
Urban Alaska needs qualified workers
Anchorage, Alaska — where 28% of employers said they planned to do some hiring in the third quarter — topped the list, which also included such metropolitan areas as Provo-Orem, Utah; Omaha; Washington; and Amarillo, Texas. (The resort town of Barnstable, Mass., on Cape Cod topped Manpower's survey, with 32% of employers saying they planned to hire in the next quarter, but BusinessWeek did not include it in the ranking because of the likelihood that many of those hires will be temporary seasonal workers.)
Alaska's unemployment rate, which fell to 8% in April, might not suggest that the state has a great job market. But the state's urban employers are hungry for educated, skilled workers. Alaska's tourism industry has been hit, but its military bases, hospitals and oil industry have stayed strong.
"The probability of getting a job, depending on your qualifications, is probably relatively high here," says Scott Goldsmith, professor of economics at the University of Alaska Anchorage. "We haven't been negatively impacted as much as the rest of the country."
Goldsmith says it's possible that out-of-work Californians who have come to Alaska looking for opportunities might be responsible for pushing up the unemployment rate a bit.
"In some sense, it's the end of the road," Goldsmith says. "You tend to get two kinds of people [moving to Alaska]: people running away from something or people looking for something. That 'something' historically has been opportunity — and there's still some of it here."
Specialized medical professionals
For employers, persuading people to move to Alaska isn't necessarily easy. Winters are long, brutal and dark, and getting there is expensive and time-consuming. But summers are beautiful, although brief.
The state has traditionally attracted people who seek a less conventional lifestyle and who might be willing to put up with subzero temperatures for the sense of living in America's last true frontier.
Providence Health & Services Alaska is hiring, especially highly specialized medical professionals. Pat Seizys, regional manager of human resources for the hospital system, says that it is averaging about 200 open positions and that the hardest to fill include speech-language pathologists and nurses with specialized training in wound care and neonatal intensive care.
"We're thousands of miles away from the Lower 48, and access to Alaska takes time and money," she says of the recruiting challenges. "It takes a special character to live in the state because of the environment."
In addition to health care providers, other companies that rank among Alaska's biggest employers include oil giants ConocoPhillips and ExxonMobil and canneries such as Unisea and Alyeska.
A few comments about Texas, I moved to Dallas to continue schooling and find you can still find apts for less than $500 a month! Try to do that in California not along the coast from frisco to San diego only far inland in agricultural places like Fresno or Sacramento but certanly nowhere along the coast. In 2008 something like 800,000 people moved to Dallas, Yes you can still find surburban detached sinigle family homes in south Dallas for 120K$. However you have to love or like hot weather. I am talking 70degrees in winter and 6 mos of 95+degrees temps and 2 months of 100+ temps. So unless your home is undergroung (which is a great new way to save money on energy costs, be prepared to pay big bucks for air conditioning. The people are genuinely true southerners, I was amazed at how many times I was addressed in stores by polite young people who say things like yes sir no sir and show respect to their elders something I have not since since I lived in Georgia as a young man. Wages are low but so are costs of living. The only thing I am really jealous of is the fact that Mcdonalds in Texas is the only place you can buy a genuine steak and egg and cheese bagel for about 3.76$ and tastes so good I can not have breakfast there without at least picking up 2 to go. To bad i can not convince Mcdonalds to sell them in California. I tried moving up to Oregon or Washington state area or the pacific north west. minimum wage is highest there in the nation over 9$ and hour but also subsequently it is hard to find a job because few people quit or want to give them up. They have a term in the pacific north west which is "Californification" in other words they do not want to see there state turnmed into another overbuilt high density population like California, also they use key phrases to dissuade Californians from trying to move there (probably because 2/3's of them are from Calif.) such as "it rains here all the time." It is true they have a highrer level of rain because both starts are green all year round whereas Calif. turns golden yellow after things dry out in spring. My advice is get a job before you attempt to move anywhere. My best choice if I could get a job would be Vancouver Wa. It is low property tax affordable housing state, but no state income tax. (like Nevada, fl;orida, and Texas) If you want to save money on sales tax you can drive across the columbia river and do all your shopping in Portland Orgeon where they have no sales tax. The best of both worlds, and a beautiful city to live in with only light snow in the winter. Do your homework before you pull up stakes and move anywhere.
Well, it's decent advice, if you are not behind on your mortgage, if you even have a roof over your head...and the chance of being able to sell your home, to take a new job, move, pay for moving, etc.
How about some advice for the single earner, unemployed, home owner...looking to keep their home and have an income!
This article is silly. First of all, with the exception of Washington DC (and surrounding area's), nobody really wants to live in any of these places, that's why there are jobs. I've been to all the cities and places on this list. I could go through them one by one telling you why nobody wants to live there (like Alaska for example, it's great to visit for a week or maybe 2, but live there? really, give me a break, or Provo Utah? You have to be kidding, that city makes Vegas and LA look honest) but I guess its just my opinion.
Second of all, the recession is global, moving to another state isn't really going to do anything. The jobs being offered now, at this moment in time, are a joke and paying about 1/2 what they should. If you have a job now, I would sit tight, don;t be such a whining nag at work, smile, and hang in there. This will pass, and things will get better. Moving to Provo (I'm still laughing about this) or any of these other ridiculous places is not going to solve anything.... it's like running from your shadow. The person that wrote this article must not have anything exciting to write about today...