The South Has the Hottest Job Markets in the Country

February 25, 2020

Austin, Texas, topped the list as the hottest job market nationwide for the second year in a row, according to new rankings of 381 metro areas from the Wall Street Journal and Moody’s Analytics. Nashville, Tenn., made it to the second spot, up from number seven a year ago.

Austin has carved a reputation as a booming tech hub and college town that has low unemployment and high wage growth. Apple Inc. has been among the latest companies to bring more jobs to the area with a $1 billion corporate campus in the works. It will add 15,000 employees to its already 7,000 workers.

To compile the job mecca rankings, researchers used five metrics—the unemployment rate, labor force participation rate, job growth, labor force growth, and wage growth.

The metros with more than 1 million people that ranked highest on the list for hottest job markets nationwide are:

  1. Austin-Round Rock, Texas
  2. Nashville-Davidson-Murfreesboro-Franklin, Tenn.
  3. Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, Colo.
  4. Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, Wash.
  5. San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, Calif.
  6. Salt Lake City, Utah
  7. Raleigh, N.C.
  8. Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, Fla.
  9. Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, Texas
  10. San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, Calif.

Among metros with fewer than one million people, Boulder, Colo., and Midland, Texas, topped the list.

View the full breakdown of the 381 markets at

Austin, Nashville Rank at Top of Hottest U.S. Job Markets,” The Wall Street Journal (Feb. 24, 2020 [Log-in required.]