Get a Job Right Now in These 20 Small and Mid-Sized U.S. Cities

Looking for a new job? Skip the big city move and instead focus on smaller and mid-size cities offering a high quality of life and lots of job opportunities.
Updated March 14, 2023
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Are you looking for a job right now? Though the big cities often get a lot of attention for the type of work they offer, there are numerous small and mid-sized cities throughout the country that offer excellent job opportunities.

Job seekers are often willing to relocate so they can get a new job and get ahead financially.

Smaller cities can provide opportunities that are less competitive which enables workers to find work faster. If you're considering moving for a job, these are the best small and mid-size cities in the U.S. based on their job market.

Bellevue, Washington

Michael J Magee/Adobe beautiful shot of bellevue skylines in front of water in mercer island

Population: 149,440

Available jobs per 1,000 people: 151

Popular industries: Tech industry, including computer hardware and IT

Bellevue is close to the tech industry that Seattle is known for, but it's far less expensive. With the mountains in the backdrop and Downtown Park offering stunning waterfalls, a sculpture garden, and lots of walking paths, it's a beautiful place to call home.

Tempe, Arizona

Digital Masters/Adobe  buildings in tempe town lake

Population: 184,118

Available jobs per 1,000 people: 129

Popular industries: Healthcare

An urban, suburban community with a nice range of professional industries and healthcare, Tempe is also a hidden location for finding startup opportunities.

The city fosters a strong business development program with state and local resources and incentives to support those who want to start a business.

It's also a fast-growing, modern city with some outstanding restaurants, shops, and cultural hotspots.

Salt Lake City, Utah

SeanPavonePhoto/Adobe salt lake city skyline

Population: 199,723

Available jobs per 1,000 people: 119

Popular industries: Healthcare

Salt Lake City has a service-oriented economy, noted for some large companies, including Cisco, Adobe, and Oracle, calling the mountains home.

It is also one of the largest industrial banking centers in the country and has long been a regional center for some large organizations thanks to its location. The city consistently ranks high in the job market.

Sioux Falls, South Dakota

Jacob/Adobe aerial view of sioux falls

Population: 192,517

Available jobs per 1,000 people: 89

Popular industries: Healthcare

While Sioux Falls most certainly is more remote than other options on our list, it's growing and offers a wide range of new opportunities.

As the largest city in the state, it has grown to be a tourism hotspot, noted for its adventure-style opportunities and culture.

The city is also considered one of the most resilient economies in the country for its low unemployment, strong economic sector, and social assistance programs.

Springfield, Missouri

TED/Adobe beautiful fountains in front of a modern buildings in downtown springfield missouri

Population: 169,724

Available jobs per 1,000 people: 83

Popular industries: Healthcare

Many know Springfield as the home of Missouri State University or the birthplace of Route 66, but this city has a lot to offer, including economic vitality.

Numerous new companies have recently responded to the area's growth and opened locations here, including Buc-ee's, Costco, Blue Room Comedy Club, and Evermore Bride.

Akron, Ohio

Debra Lawrence/Adobe ohio erie canal lock in akron surrounded with trees during day time

Population: 189,347

Available jobs per 1,000 people: 82

Popular industries: Manufacturing

Akron is one of the five largest metro regions in Ohio and is known for some historically valuable companies like B.F. Goodrich Tire and Goodyear Tire.

The city is also noted for its research and development industries, thanks to the Polymer Science Institute at the University of Akron.

Modern, affordable housing coupled with a strong cultural arts sector make this a diverse community.

Knoxville, Tennessee

Kevin Ruck/Adobe skylines of knoxville

Population: 192,648

Available jobs per 1,000 people: 78

Popular industries: Healthcare services

Knoxville is very business-driven, with numerous public-private partnerships in place to support development and growth while at the same time being very eco-friendly.

Projects like the South Waterfront Redevelopment Area and Cumberland Avenue Streetscape and Infrastructure projects have helped to bring in new businesses.

Grand Rapids, Michigan

Brett Farmer/Wirestock Creators/Adobe buildings and skyscrapers in downtown grand rapids during night time

Population: 197,416

Available jobs per 1,000 people: 75

Popular industries: Construction, healthcare, and manufacturing

Grand Rapids has a fast-growing economy, one that is built on the manufacturing and construction industries.

The city's location between Chicago and Detroit makes it a desirable place to call home and an urban center.

Fort Collins, Colorado

Schrodington, LLC/Adobe lively street in downtown fort collins surrounded by fairy lights and flowers

Population: 168,538

Available jobs per 1,000 people: 67

Popular industries: Manufacturing

Fort Collins has a diverse and resilient economic makeup that focuses heavily on manufacturing with growing sectors in higher education and technology.

Growth in these sectors comes from the presence of companies like Advance Energy Industry and Intel.

The Colorado State University Research Foundation is also a significant contributor to research-led projects in the area.

Peoria, Arizona

Matt Gush/Adobe aerial view of housing area in peoria arizona

Population: 194,917

Available jobs per 1,000 people: 64

Popular industries: Healthcare

With Lake Pleasant Regional Park's fishing, boating, and water skiing opportunities, Peoria feels like a remote town, but it's also a thriving economic center.

Healthcare is a big part of that, but the area has seen a significant amount of commercial and real estate development in recent years. The area has a growing retail and tourism sector, too.

Orlando, Florida

Kevin Ruck/Adobe skylines along with trees in orlando florida during day time

Population: 309,154

Available jobs per 1,000 people: 151

Popular industries: Tourism, healthcare, entertainment

Orlando is easily known for its theme parks and tourism, with more than 50 million visitors each year. The city's hospitality and tourism sectors make up 80% of its employment

However, Orlando also is ranked highly for diversified job openings, including in areas of healthcare and research. The city has strong advanced manufacturing, biotech, and aerospace sectors as well.

St. Louis, Missouri

Kovcs/Adobe cityscape on the mississippi river

Population: 293,310

Available jobs per 1,000 people: 151

Popular industries: Health services

St. Louis is a modern, growing, urban-suburban city that's noted for its health services industry and growing financial services, biotech, and aviation.

The city boasts a number of research-focused initiatives as well. Large companies include Boeing, Washington University, Monsanto, and Express Scripts.

Tacoma, Washington

David Gn/Adobe mount rainier over tacoma city

Population: 219,205

Available jobs per 1,000 people: 142

Popular industries: Healthcare, maritime

Tacoma's strong healthcare and maritime industries make it an attractive option for those looking for a job near the waterfront.

The city is more affordable than many other West Coast cities, with all of the beauty and modern amenities of the bigger cities nearby.

About 40% of the jobs here relate to international trade in Washington, and a large portion of those are at the Port of Tacoma.

Cincinnati, Ohio

jonbilous/Adobe cincinnati skylines in front of ohio river from kentucky

Population: 309,317

Available jobs per 1,000 people: 138

Popular industries: Healthcare

Cincinnati offers a combination of an affordable lifestyle, exceptional local culture and arts programs, and a growing economy.

It's home to large companies like Procter & Gamble, Kroger Company, and General Electric.

Richmond, Virginia

Kevin Ruck/Adobe richmond skylines

Population: 226,610

Available jobs per 1,000 people: 128

Popular industries: Financial, medical, biotech, manufacturing, and transportation

Richmond is a diverse location that often attracts new businesses and is noted for its growing financial and biotech industries and knowledge-based services.

The city's advanced manufacturing companies include NewMarket Corp, Dupont, and Ethyl Corp. It's also home to Dove Architects and Mosely Architects, who are builders focused on green development.

Tampa, Florida

Noah Densmore/Adobe tampa river with skylines surrounded by green trees and boat

Population: 384,959

Available jobs per 1,000 people: 128

Popular industries: Information technology, tourism, healthcare, and maritime

Tampa is easily a recognized tourism destination in the city but has a strong, diverse economy based on finance, healthcare, and insurance.

Its location makes it ideal for its maritime industry, which is linked to $15 billion in economic impact for the state. The city is also focused heavily on redevelopment to increase its population.

Minneapolis, Minnesota

stevengaertner/Adobe minneapolis skyline

Population: 429,954

Available jobs per 1,000 people: 128

Popular industries: Healthcare, medical technology, commercialization, and manufacturing

Minneapolis's economy has flexed to meet the demands of the modern world with a growing medical technology and innovation focus.

However, its mining and manufacturing industries remain critical to support the country's needs. Its focus on medicine has made it a hotbed for new medical technology development.

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Steven/Adobe Pittsburgh's Historic North Side

Population: 300,431

Available jobs per 1,000 people: 128

Popular industries: Manufacturing

Pittsburgh continues to provide industrial and manufacturing needs for many companies, which is what it is known for, but the city is also home to a large number of innovative businesses.

Apple, AutoDesk, Bosch, and Intel are just some of the companies with robotics, IT, and other operations present. Emerging industries including cyber security, additive manufacturing, and AI.

Des Moines, Iowa

f11photo/Adobe des moines skyline in iowa

Population: 214,133

Available jobs per 1,000 people: 128

Popular industries: Computer hardware, advanced manufacturing, and agricultural innovation

Des Moines is a cultural and recreational hub for the state, but it's also a valuable economic center noted for its highly educated workforce and city-supported initiatives.

Some of the largest businesses here include advanced manufacturing, AG Innovations, Apple, Microsoft, and Facebook.

Chandler, Arizona

Matt Gush/Adobe buildings in chandler downtown arizona during day time

Population: 275,987

Available jobs per 1,000 people: 128

Popular industries: Healthcare, manufacturing, computer science

Chandler, a suburb of Phoenix, is a regional economic stronghold with companies like Avnet, Garmin, and Microchip calling it home.

It has worked to build itself as an innovation and technology hub while still providing exceptional quality of life and a competitive cost of living compared to the bigger cities nearby.

Bottom line

VK Studio/Adobe woman using laptop while sitting on couch surrounded with brown moving boxes

For many people, relocating to one of these small or mid-sized cities could mean an exceptional opportunity to find a great job outside of the biggest cities.

There are plenty of reasons to do so, too. With nearly 37% of people saying they will relocate for career advancement opportunities, it could be time for you to make your move, too.

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Author Details

Sandy Baker Sandy Baker is a has over 17 years of experience in the financial sector. Her experience includes website content, blogs, and social media. She’s worked with companies such as, Bankrate, TransUnion, Equifax, and Consumer Affairs.

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