RALEIGH – If you’re looking for work, the Oak City is not a bad place to be.
Raleigh nabbed the No.6 spot for the “hottest” labor market in the U.S., according to a new Wall Street Journal ranking.
Wages are growing in North Carolina’s Research Triangle, the report noted, at around 5 percent compared to the national average of 3.6 percent. Job growth is also strong at 3 percent, but the unemployment rate — 3.6 percent last year — was only slightly below the national average.
Austin, Texas, one of Raleigh’s biggest rivals, earned the top spot, with an unemployment rate of 3 percent. San Jose, California and Salt Lake City, Utah came in second and third, respectively.
To analyze the differences, the Journal partnered with Moody’s Analytics to assess the labor market in 377 U.S. metro areas.
Each region was ranked on five metrics: average unemployment rate in 2018; labor-force participation rate in 2018; the change in the average monthly employment and labor-force levels in 2018 from a year earlier; and the change in average weekly wages, not adjusted for inflation, in the first half of 2018 from the first half of 2017, reflecting the latest available wage data.
Areas were scored by the highest average ranking among the five categories. Rankings were split between areas with under one million people and over one million people.
Overall, the U.S. labor market is historically strong, the report added, with employers adding jobs each month for more than eight years and the unemployment rate near a 49-year low last year. But the labor market isn’t equal across the country.
Technology hotbeds, energy hubs and college towns are among the hottest labor markets, but places in the middle of the country and some of the largest American cities have relatively “cooler demand for employees and interest from would-be workers,” the report said.