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January 2011: The 10 Best and Worst Cities to Find a Job

the white house By CareerCast.com/JobSerf Employment Index

Washington, D.C. managed to hold on to the title of America's best city to find a job for the 36th straight month in January. That said, the nation's capital saw employment activity decline by 20 points for the month, sending the city back to its lowest Index score in over a year. This decline has helped Boston finish within striking distance of first place, as the New England city held its ground with just a three-point decline in January.

To determine the cities with the 10 best and worst job markets each month, the CareerCast.com/JobSerf Employment Index surveys 30 different major metro areas across the U.S. for per capita job availability. Rather than simply reporting the cities with the most and least jobs, the Index measures the number of job openings relative to population, awarding each a per capita hiring score for the month. This gives a more complete picture of how easy (or difficult) it is to get a new job in each metro area.

Moving further down the list, not a single metro area in the top 10 posted a positive score in January. Many of these cities are now on pace to fall further down the rankings by summer, if not earlier.

Want to know where the jobs are? Check out January 2011's 10 best cities to find a job:

  • Washington, D.C.

    Overall Index Rank: 1st
    Ranking Change From Last Month: +/- 0
    Index Score: 147
    Score Change From Last Month: -20
    City Fact:

    Despite posting a 20 point loss in hiring, Washington, D.C., once again finished as the best U.S. city for job seekers in January, a title it has held for the past 36 months.

    1 of 10
  • Boston, MA

    Overall Index Rank: 2nd
    Ranking Change From Last Month: +/- 0
    Index Score: 125
    Score Change From Last Month: -3
    City Fact:

    Boston has remained stuck behind Washington, D.C., for the past three years, but may soon move into first place. While the city suffered a 3 point loss in employment activity, it is still on pace to overtake the nation's capital by March.

    2 of 10
  • San Francisco, CA

    Overall Index Rank: 3rd
    Ranking Change From Last Month: +/- 0
    Index Score: 111
    Score Change From Last Month: -6
    City Fact:

    Suffering a six point loss in employment activity in January, San Francisco remains stuck in third place among the 10 best cities for job seekers, just ahead of Seattle.

    3 of 10
  • Seattle, WA

    Overall Index Rank: 4th
    Ranking Change From Last Month: +/- 0
    Index Score: 97
    Score Change From Last Month: -3
    City Fact:

    While Seattle's three point drop in hiring was better than that of fellow tech-center San Francisco, the Washington city is unlikely to challenge the Bay Area for third place. That said, Seattle is nearly 20 points ahead of fifth-place Atlanta, and is unlikely to drop out of the top four in the near future.

    4 of 10
  • Atlanta, GA

    Overall Index Rank: 5th
    Ranking Change From Last Month: +1
    Index Score: 79
    Score Change From Last Month: -4
    City Fact:

    The good news: Atlanta advanced past Baltimore to finish among America's 5 best cities for finding a job. The bad news: The Georgia city rose up the rankings despite posting a four point loss in hiring for the month, and trails fourth-place Seattle by 18 points.

    5 of 10
  • Baltimore, MD

    Overall Index Rank: 6th
    Ranking Change From Last Month: -1
    Index Score: 76
    Score Change From Last Month: -15
    City Fact:

    A bright spot for Baltimore has been its robust job market during the recession, finishing among the 10 best cities to find a job for most of the past two years. But after climbing into fifth place at the end of 2010, a 15 point drop in hiring has sent the Maryland city back into sixth place overall, just behind Atlanta.

    6 of 10
  • Chicago, IL

    Overall Index Rank: 7th
    Ranking Change From Last Month: +/- 0
    Index Score: 73
    Score Change From Last Month: -5
    City Fact:

    This is Chicago's third straight month in seventh place, although a three point decline in hiring has dropped the windy city into a virtual tie with New York.

    7 of 10
  • New York, NY

    Overall Index Rank: 8th
    Ranking Change From Last Month: +/- 0
    Index Score: 73
    Score Change From Last Month: -4
    City Fact:

    While New York remained in eighth place in January, the city has now suffered a decline in hiring for three straight months. That said, it is unlikely that the big apple will fall further down the rankings in the foreseeable future.

    8 of 10
  • Denver, CO

    Overall Index Rank: 9th
    Ranking Change From Last Month: +/- 0
    Index Score: 67
    Score Change From Last Month: -4
    City Fact:

    For the fourth month in a row, Denver finished in ninth place among the 10 best cities to find a job. That said, the city's four point loss in January puts it on pace to fall behind 10th-place Philadelphia by early spring.

    9 of 10
  • Philadelphia, PA

    Overall Index Rank: 10th
    Ranking Change From Last Month: +/- 0
    Index Score: 64
    Score Change From Last Month: -3
    City Fact:

    After re-entering the top 10 in December, Philadelphia manged to hold its ground last month. That said, employment activity fell by three points in January, putting the city in danger of losing ground to Cleveland or Dallas in the coming months.

    10 of 10


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