Top 10 Cities for Work and Play

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Many people who are looking for a job or want to start their career stay within the city or at least the state that they grew up in. But why not branch out? We have the top ten cities that are making a name for themselves in this busy bustling world and the top careers within those cities that are most popular. So if you’re interested in a particular field, one of these hot-spots may be calling your name.

1. Houston, Texas

Houston is the home of the Texas Medical Center which has the largest concentration of healthcare and research in the world. But if that doesn’t tickle your fancy, don’t worry. The city’s economy has a broad industrial base in energy, manufacturing, aeronautics and transportation and besides NYC, the only other city with more Fortune 500 headquarters. According to Kiplinger's Personal Finance Magazine, in 2007, the city generated more than 100,000 jobs and leads the nation in job growth. In fact, the Texas Workforce Commission reports that Houston is growing faster in new jobs than the rest of the state of Texas and has decreasing unemployment rates.

2. Raleigh, N.C.

This past year was a turning point for Raleigh. This one time ''ghost town'' is now a popular place for companies to relocate to because of its reasonably priced housing market. And if you didn’t already know, home to American Idol contestant, now pop singer Clay Aiken. But singing isn’t the only gig here. Computers and pharmaceuticals make up most of the area's employment along with North Carolina's Research Triangle. It's one of the country’s largest and most successful research parks in the United States.

3. Omaha, Nebraska

Calling all young professionals! Businesses here like to hire and recruit recent college grads. So if you’ve just received that diploma and you’re interested in finance, healthcare, information technology or insurance, then you might want to take a closer look at Omaha. It’s also a great place for entrepreneurs to make their mark. Warren Buffet, nick-named the ''Oracle of Omaha,'' is regularly ranked one of the richest people in the world. So if he can make it in the ''paradise on the plains''…so can you!

4. Boise, Idaho

Those in search of a local high-tech business like Hewlett-Packard or Micron Technology should make their way to Boise. They’re actually Boise Valley’s two largest employers and make up the state’s biggest exports. But that doesn’t mean the city forgets about the ''little guys.'' Smaller technology and e-commerce firms do well here too. Plus, the call center industry provides a major source of employment to more than 7,000 people who live there. There are over 20 call centers in the city for companies such as DIRECTV and T-Mobile.

5. Colorado Springs, Colorado

With 300 days of sunshine annually and laid back energy, you would think the jobs most popular here would reflect the mellow scene. But it’s actually a strong military presence that fuels the city. The U.S. Army and Air Force operations are what grow the economy along with many high-tech businesses such as Verizon and Intel.

6. Austin, Texas

Don’t be mistaken, this metro isn’t just about the rockers, even though it has a major music scene. In the last five years, Austin has expanded its economy and now includes careers in digital media, green energy and biotechnical fields and has created 114,000 possible new jobs in the area. Some companies who have made Austin their home are Apple, 3M Company, and Samsung. A strong network of locally owned businesses keeps the unique spirit of the city alive, preserving their slogan, ''Keep Austin Weird.'' It’s not that the city thrives on being a black sheep, but it does support the more unique businesses that give this city its flair.

7. Fayetteville, Arkansas

Why did more than 1,300 companies in the past decade decide Fayetteville was a great place for their business to grow? There’s one simple answer…Wal-Mart, P&G, PepsiCo and many other companies have built operations in this city to better serve the big guy Wally. But if you’re not looking for a position with the mega-retailer you might be interested in some of the other industries that have kept this city going such as electronics, water purification, construction, and lighting.

8. Sacramento, California

Is “going green” the new slogan of your life? Why not make it your job too. Clean energy companies are bringing many new jobs to the city of Sacramento. The city also owes much of its growth to the new downtown redevelopment which has brought jobs in entertainment, retail and outdoor recreation. Plus housing prices have dropped dramatically in the last year which may not be the best of news to people selling their homes. But if you’re thinking about making the move here, then it’s the perfect opportunity to buy.

9. Des Moines, Iowa

Des Moines is a major center for the insurance industry. About 60 companies have built their businesses here which makes the city the third largest insurance center in the world. Des Moines is also important in the political scene because it's home to the Iowa caucuses which is the first major electoral event in nominating the President of the United States. So if insurance is your thing and you like to see presidential candidates up-close and personal, then why not make the move!

10. Provo, Utah

Home to Brigham Young University, one of the top ranked business schools in the nation, Provo is the country’s second largest software center. After graduates walk the stage in their cap and gown, they set up shop and get right to work. Why would you want to leave your great college town if you can succeed in your career there too? But it’s not all business. In the past few years, the downtown area has flourished too with small shops, music venues and boutiques which have also added jobs to the economy.

• For more tips and advice, check out the rest of our career section >>


Best Cities to Live, Work and Play