Best Cities For Job Relocation this Spring

April 2, 2013

The U.S. is enjoying a refreshing upswing in employment this year.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics 236,000 new jobs were added in the month of February and the unemployment rate fell to the lowest it’s been in 51 months – 7.7%.

Even better, the Manpower Employment Quarterly Outlook Survey (.pdf) says employers in the Construction industry (jobs) anticipate a big hiring increase in the Northeast, Midwest and West this year.

Bottom line: if you’re an engineer in the market for a first job or interested in relocating for a better one, you couldn’t have picked a better time in the last five years.

But we also know many American households rely on two incomes, and relocation based on one new job isn’t enough.

So these are the cities with the best overall net employment outlook this Spring (2013) according to the Manpower Survey, and below we link to the engineering jobs (including entry-level positions) available in each.

Silicon Valley, CA +23%

San Jose Engineering Jobs

Silicon Valley continues to dominate the US in overall job growth with a projection of 23%.

Software engineers are in incredibly high demand here thanks to Silicon Valley being the seat of the worldwide tech industry. A few companies currently hiring software and computer engineers are Apple, Lattice Semiconductor, and TiVo… among many, many others.

But why move there? Aside from temperate weather, proximity to the Pacific Ocean and San Francisco,  Silicon Valley remains the “it” place to be if you want to grow with a start-up company or eventually found one yourself.

“It’s crawling with investors, mentors and start-up companies in every stage of development—all of which are jonesing to build relationships that morph into the next big opportunity.”

– So You Want to Move to Silicon Valley

Our complete list of engineering jobs available in “the Valley”:

Image credit anthony_goto 


Portland, ME +23%

Portland Maine Engineering Jobs.jpg

Known for the “3 L’s”… Lobster, Lighthouses and LL Bean, the small city of Portland, Maine (population 66,363) probably isn’t the first place that comes to mind when you say “job growth.” But the revitalized seaport town is enjoying a healthy increase in employment across the board – tying, per capita, San Jose!

Though there are comparatively few engineering jobs available in Portland relative to other major cities, the quality of life index is through the roof (especially if you like snow)… and it’s hard to find a more beautiful place in America to call home.

Image credit: Brent Danley


Salt Lake City, UT +22%

Salt Lake City Engineering Jobs Salt Lake City continues to attract new businesses and expansion thanks, in part, to Utah’s business-friendly laws and the city’s focused investment in infrastructure. The breadth of engineering jobs available is as good as any city in America- but Salt Lake City is fast becoming a leader in the tech and healthcare industries, in particular. Per Mayor Ralph Becker in “The Secrets to Job Growth in Salt Lake City“:

In the healthcare and health sciences area, we are seeing an enormous expansion. Our tech industry is doing well, and in the transportation arena on the governmental side, with the changes and the investments we’re making as a community, it’s really transforming the mobility options not just in Salt Lake City, but in the whole region.

Plus, if you’re a ski bum or an adrenaline junkie, Utah’s Olympic Park is only 30 miles outside the city. From ski jumping to bobsledding to the world’s steepest zip line, the Salt Lake area can deliver both jobs and an active, white-knuckled outdoors lifestyle.

Image credit: summitcheese


Tucson, AZ +22%

Tuscon Arizona Engineering Jobs

Tuscon, a city surrounded by mountains and sitting at the base of Saguaro National Park, seems an unlikely place to be nicknamed “Missile City.” But as the NYT describes in it’s “36 Hours in Tuscon” feature:

For a terrifying yet educational reminder of the cold war, drive about 30 minutes south of downtown on Interstate 19 to the Titan Missile Museum…

The nuclear silo housed a single intercontinental ballistic missile equipped with a warhead 700 times more powerful than the Hiroshima bomb. Of the 54 built in the 1960s, it is the only silo that has not been filled in or demolished. The museum tour lasts an hour. Much of it is underground, behind eight-foot-thick blast walls, and ends with a peek at the 103-foot weapon, with its warhead removed.

Though the Cold War is long over, the defense industry still plays a large employment role in the Tuscon. Engineers (especially those with security clearances) remain in constant demand thanks to big contract employers like Raytheon, B/E Aerospace, and Alion Science and Technology.

Image credit: Rob Faulkner


Des Moines, IA  +21%

Des Moines Engineering Jobs

Smack in the middle of the Corn Belt, Des Moines, Iowa is home to a number of agricultural industry titans you might expect: John Deere, Monsanto, and DuPont Pioneer to name a few. But it also has a large financial, insurance and wider manufacturing industry presence, too. Fisher Scientific, Andersen Windows and Doors and Bridgestone all have local plants.

Des Moines was also rated the #2 Safest City in the United States by Farmer’s Insurance and the #5 Best City for Families by Parent Magazine. With affordable housing, good salaries and a low-cost of living, Des Moines is a solid city to relocate.

Image credit: Jason Mrachina


Richmond, VA +21%

Richmond Engineering Jobs

You may be surprised to know that Richmond’s largest employer has nothing to do with the tobacco industry at all… Capital One Financial now owns that honor. (And they are hiring engineers! Particularly computer and software engineers at the moment).

Of interest to other engineering disciplines, the city is also home to Dominion Energy and has a large presence by ColonialWebb Contractors, Honeywell and Northrop Grumman.

If you’re looking for a city South of the Mason-Dixon with good schools, low crime, taxes, unemployment and a mild winter – Richmond should be on your list.

Image credit: William Fisher


Minneapolis – St. Paul, MN +20%

Minneapolis Engineering Jobs

Some cities grow based on a combination of luck and geography, but not MSP. Minneapolis is home to the Itasca Project, an employer-led civic alliance with the singular mission to increase economic competitiveness on a city-wide level. They are taking an active role in growing jobs not just by bolstering the Twin Cities’ infrastructure, but also marketing the city as a great place to live, work and raise a family to employers and would-be employees alike.

Minneapolis-St. Paul serves a diverse menu of engineering disciplines and jobs – from Aerospace to Systems engineers and everything in between. Major employers in town include Target Corporation, The Mayo Clinic, and the 3M Corporation.

Image credit: Christopher Schoenbohm


Houston, TX +19%

Houston Engineering Jobs

Houston needs no introduction for engineers. Not only is “Space City” a great hub for aerospace, mechanical and electrical engineers, but Houston is also an energy hub, a port city, and one that has developed at breakneck pace over the last decade.

If you’re an engineer and want to relocate, your problem won’t be finding a job in Houston – but choosing which one to take.

And, if you haven’t seen it previously, we outlined 7 great reasons to consider a job in Houston here.

Image credit: Jonathan Phillips


Pittsburgh, PA +19%

Pittsburgh Engineering Jobs

You expect mining to be a huge industry in a town nicknamed “Steel City”. While the metallurgical engineering jobs may have waned a bit over the years, Pittsburgh is enjoying a resurgence in energy-related employment thanks to the fracking boom in Western Pennsylvania.

Pittsburgh is also home to Carnegie Mellon, one of the best Computer and Software Engineering colleges in the country. Their renown has even brought Silicon Valley employers like Google to the city, enticed by comparatively low overhead and loads of high-tech talent.

Image credit: Evan Leeson

Where are you relocating?

If you are relocating for a job this year, we’d love to hear about it. Drop a comment below or tweet us up at EngineerJobs about where you’re moving and why you chose that city.

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