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Jan 15, 2024 PropStream

The 5 Best Cities for Jobs in 2024

To be a successful landlord, it helps to understand job growth trends. After all, many people move to where the jobs are, and cities with booming job markets often see more housing demand.

Furthermore, now that the cost of homeownership has spiraled upward, areas poised for job growth may present opportunities to rent to newcomers who can’t afford to buy.

But the opportunities extend beyond just long-term rentals. With the rise of remote and hybrid work, more tenants are seeking short and mid-term rentals to enjoy a more flexible lifestyle. Others need temporary housing while they relocate to a new office (9% of U.S. corporations moved their headquarters since the start of 2022).

Ultimately, following job growth trends can help you identify markets with attractive tenant pools, higher rental rates, and increased rental stability.

Below, we ranked the top 5 U.S. cities with the highest job growth rates, along with their average annual salary, average unemployment rate, and more.

⚡Note: the national mean wage is $61,900, and the seasonally-adjusted U.S. unemployment rate is 3.7% for reference.


1. Midland, Texas

Best cities for jobs

  • Job growth rate: 5.1%
  • Average annual salary: $62,520
  • Unemployment rate: 2.4%

Midland, Texas, is the business headquarters of the Permian Basin, the largest oil production region in the U.S. It’s experienced explosive job growth in the last few years, notably when energy prices spiked in 2022.

In a February 2023 report, the Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise ranked Midland as having the fastest-growing economy of any midsize U.S. city.

The city’s job growth rate is 5.1%, over double the state average and over double the rate of any larger metro in West Texas.

Midland’s average annual salary is slightly higher than the U.S. average, and its unemployment rate is significantly lower than the U.S. average.

Midland’s attractive job market can make it an excellent city for landlords. Case in point: Midland’s annual apartment rent growth recently hit 15.3%, outpacing inflation.

In 2023, the fair market rent for a two-bedroom apartment in Midland was $978. In 2024, it’s expected to reach $1,074 (a 10% increase).

2. Durham-Chapel Hill, North Carolina

best cities for jobs

  • Job growth rate: 4.4%
  • Average annual salary: $71,720
  • Unemployment rate: 2.9%

Durham-Chapel Hill is a metro area in North Carolina with a population of 664,310. The city and town comprise two points of Research Triangle, home to several high-tech companies and three major research universities (North Carolina State University, Duke University, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill).

At the center of the Research Triangle lies Research Triangle Park, the largest research park in the U.S., spanning 7,000 acres with over 375 companies.

The metro area’s focus on tech helps explain its average annual salary of $71,720, nearly $10,000 over the national average.

The Raleigh-Durham International Airport (RDU) and Interstate 40 are also located within Research Triangle, making it a convenient transportation hub.

Even Chapel Hill, a small college town, is experiencing job growth. Recently, a health technology firm called Well Dot chose it as its headquarters over Boston, bringing in an expected 400 jobs.

The fair market rent for a two-bedroom apartment in Durham-Chapel Hill is $1,315 monthly and is expected to reach $1,631 monthly next year (a 24% increase).

3. Corvallis, Oregon

Cities with the most job opportunities

  • Job growth rate: 4.3%
  • Average annual salary: $65,190
  • Unemployment rate: 3%

Corvallis is a college town in western Oregon with a population of nearly 60,000. Its biggest employers are Oregon State University and Samaritan Health Services. Together, educational services and healthcare comprise 35.4% of the job market.

The city government also represents a sizable employer. Last year, it hired 312 people to work part- and full-time jobs, increasing the municipal workforce by 60% annually.

More recently, Corvallis and the Pacific Northwest region received two tech hub designations from the White House—one focused on microfluidics and another on timber tech. The designations are part of an economic development initiative to drive regional innovation and job creation.

Both tech hub projects can apply for awards of between $40 million and $70 million each. Already, the microfluidics group received a $450,000 grant from the Department of Commerce and a $50,000 match from Business Oregon.

Fair market rent for a two-bedroom apartment in Corvallis is $1,430 and is expected to reach $1,570 by next year (a 10% increase).

⚠️ Important Note: Oregon has statewide rent control. According to the state’s website, “The allowable annual rent increase in 2024 is 10.0%. Only one rent increase may be issued in any 12-month period.” Consult a local legal professional to learn more if you plan on becoming a landlord in Oregon.

4. Charlottesville, Virginia

Best cities for job opportunities

  • Job growth rate: 3.8%
  • Average annual salary: $62,400
  • Unemployment rate: 2.6%

Historic colonial town Charlottesville is home to the University of Virginia, which Thomas Jefferson founded in 1819. But it’s also a thriving business center, home to many successful companies, including HemoShear, S&P Global, and Apex Clean Energy.

Virginia Diodes, a worldwide provider of electromagnetic spectrum measurement equipment, announced it was investing $2.5 million to expand its operations in Charlottesville, a move that is projected to create 24 new jobs. The company’s CEO cited the city’s ideal location for recruiting technical staff as a reason for the expansion.

Similarly, Charlottesville-based nanotechnology company Laser Thermal announced a $2.9 million investment to expand its facilities in the city, promising to bring 28 new jobs to the area.

At the same time, median home prices in Charlottesville recently hit an all-time high of $445,900. This could potentially turn workers away from homeownership and increase rental demand.

Fair market rent for a two-bedroom apartment in Charlottesville is $1,401. Next year, it’s projected to be $1,678 (a 20% increase).

5. Raleigh, North Carolina

Best cities to find jobs

  • Job growth rate: 3.7%
  • Average annual salary: $62,500
  • Unemployment rate: 3%

Raleigh of Wake County is the capital of North Carolina. It has a population of 476,000 and the fourth-fastest growing economy among the nation’s biggest cities.

Along with Durham and Chapel Hill, Durham helps make up part of Research Triangle, which has seen major job announcements from Wolfspeed, Apple, and VinFast. Other established companies in the region include Grifols, Pfizer, IBM, and Red Hat.

Additionally, Raleigh ranks second for job growth in tech over the past decade and first for job growth in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math).

The director of Wake County’s development operation said the city is working on 38 projects with over 14,000 associated new jobs and $8.4 billion in potential capital investment.

Interestingly, 26% of workers in Durham-Chapel Hill work remotely, a rate far above the national average of 15.2%. This means demand for short- and mid-term rentals could be exceptionally high.

Fair market rent for a two-bedroom apartment in Raleigh is $1,412. In 2024, it’s projected to be $1,646 (a 17% increase).

Find Rental Property in One of These 5 Regions With PropStream!

Choosing the right market for your next rental investment takes time, but knowing which cities have the highest job growth rate is a good start.

Once you’ve settled on a market, you can find the best rental properties using real estate data. This can help you predict a property’s potential rental income, gross yield, and more.

Of course, finding the right rental property isn’t the end. From there, you’ll need to ensure it’s properly insured, compliant with local housing regulations, and tenant-ready.

To get a headstart, sign up for our free 7-day trial today and get 50 rental property leads on us!

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Published by PropStream January 15, 2024