14 Jun Best And Worst Cities For Jobs This Summer (2016)

new orleans jobsNOLABA President and CEO Quentin Messer remains optimistic about the job scene in New Orleans despite occasional slowdowns in the summer season.

“We remain very bullish on the ground,” Messer said in Forbes. “We are seeing more software development and programming jobs come to the city. We have growing biology and health services innovation sectors.”

The Best And Worst Cities For Jobs This Summer (2016)

The best city to find a job this summer is located in New York state — but it’s not New York City. It’s Albany, the state’s capital on the banks of the Hudson River. One of the oldest continuous settlements among the original 13 colonies, Albany today exudes both history and modernity. Back in the 19th century, Seth Wheeler invented and patented the first perforated toilet paper in Albany; nowadays the city is home to booming healthcare, government, and high-tech activity. According to survey results released today by ManpowerGroup, a human resources and employment services company, employers in Albany expect a 34% net employment outlook for the third quarter of 2016. This means that if you’re in search of a job, you might just want to pack your bags and move to Albany in the next three months.

To put together its employment outlooks report, Manpower conducted 11,000 interviews in all 50 states and the top 100 metropolitan areas, asking employers how they expected local employment to change between now and the end of September. Across the nation, 23% of American employers anticipated an increase in jobs, 5% expected a decline, and 71% foresaw no change to their payrolls. Compared with the current quarter, net employment outlooks in the Northeast, Midwest, and South decreased slightly for the upcoming quarter, while employers in the West reported a 1% jump. Overall, Manpower found a 15% seasonally adjusted net employment outlook in the U.S. (which is the percentage of employers who expected an increase in employees minus the percentage who expected a decrease). This number is 1% lower than that from quarter 3 last year.

Albany stands out on top among the 100 metropolitan areas surveyed, but a few other cities trail closely behind: Richmond, VA, Charleston, SC, and Salt Lake City all have employment outlooks above 30% in the upcoming quarter and are great options for job-seekers to consider. On the other end of the spectrum, however, is New Orleans with only a 1% net employment outlook. Baton Rouge is not much better — with a 2% outlook, the Louisiana capital is still trying to shake off remnants of the 2008 recession.

According to Manpower’s Chris Layden, a number of cities have been scoring in the top quartile consistently. While Albany has never topped the list in the past, Layden said it has always been a strong contender. One advantage that cities like Albany, Richmond, Charleston, and Salt Lake City share in common is the strength of their industrial base across multiple industries. In Albany, the government alone (on the local, state, and federal levels) employs a quarter of the population, but the city has also developed muscle in healthcare and high-tech. Richmond, too, is a hub for multiple industries, including finance, law, bio-science, and technology.

“What we’re starting to see a lot is employer flexibility. Employers are looking outside of industries they’re currently in and taking advantage of untapped talent from adjacent industries,” Layden said. “That’s where you’re seeing the real strength [of these cities].”

On the other hand, cities that concentrate on one or two industry sectors tend to have a harder time, particularly if their economy depends on mining, oil, or gas. In fact, mining is the only industry surveyed by Manpower that has a negative employment outlook in the coming quarter.

So while all 100 metropolitan areas surveyed by Manpower are equal in that employers feel generally optimistic about the job market, some cities are more equal than others. See our gallery above for the cities with the best and worst prospects for jobs this summer.

On the other hand, cities that concentrate on one or two industry sectors tend to have a harder time, particularly if their economy depends on mining, oil, or gas. In fact, mining is the only industry surveyed by Manpower that has a negative employment outlook in the coming quarter.

So while all 100 metropolitan areas surveyed by Manpower are equal in that employers feel generally optimistic about the job market, some cities are more equal than others. See our gallery above for the cities with the best and worst prospects for jobs this summer.

And here is a close-up look at the best- and worst-rated cities of all:

Albany, New York

Net employment outlook: 34%

Population: 880,400

Major industries: government, healthcare, technology

Summer is a cherished time of the year in Albany, where flowers and the economy bloom side by side. In this upcoming quarter, there is a strong market for jobs in the capital of New York state. Unemployment is only around 4%, and almost every industry is looking to increase jobs.

“Seasonally, the construction business is in full swing. Manufacturing is going well and the second highest industry [in terms of job prospects],” said Sean Lee, general manager of Manpower in Albany. “The Albany market is at full strength, and it looks like it’s going to continue to grow.”

According to Lee, employers in Albany are seeking different types of skills in a variety of areas, ranging from IT and manufacturing to call center and administrative positions. Two years ago, the California-based semiconductor manufacturer GlobalFoundries opened a big chip plant about 20 miles north of the city, which Lee said had a big influence on the movement of people into the Albany area. Beyond construction and manufacturing, the financial and healthcare sectors are also expanding and hiring more employees. Additionally, Lee mentioned that many small businesses are moving to and being established in Albany.

New Orleans, Louisiana

Net employment outlook: 1%

Population: 1,253,300

Major industries: defense & aerospace, energy, tourism

New OrleansOn the other end of the list is New Orleans, which is the metropolitan area with the lowest job prospects for the next three months. Summer is hot and humid there, and Quentin L. Messer, Jr., president and CEO of the New Orleans Business Alliance, said seasonality is a big contributing factor in the dismal employment outlook (the numbers reported by Manpower for the metropolitan statistical areas are not seasonally adjusted).

There tends to be a summer hiring slowdown in tourism and hospitality, which account for a large portion of the local economy. At the same time, construction of large-scale chemical production projects between New Orleans and Baton Rouge is slowing down — not only has the energy market downturn affected the region, but heavy construction is also known to be a challenge in the hot New Orleans weather. Home to Tulane University, the University of New Orleans, and a few other colleges, New Orleans also loses tens of thousands of college students during the summer months, which may lead employers in the area to adjust their payrolls.

Despite the low immediate job prospects, Messer feels optimistic about the business scene in New Orleans.

“We remain very bullish on the ground,” he said. “We are seeing more software development and programming jobs come to the city. We have growing biology and health services innovation sectors in the New Orleans metropolitan area.”

Traditional industries like agribusiness, oil and gas, maritime, and hospitality still dominate (and suffer from seasonality and other economic challenges), but people like Messer are focusing on diversifying, so the quarterly data may not be the best predictor of long-run trends in the area.

Click here for the full story by Forbes’ Monica Wang.