Posted by on September 17, 2018

Below you’ll find an article talking about the highest salary cities in the US – 4 of which are in the Bay Area: San Jose, San Francisco, Sacramento – and San Diego in the south. While salaries are high, so are the costs of living – except Sacramento.

I’ve added information to each city posted to give you a more rounded perspective on not just salaries, but housing, commute, and other factors.

My analysis & Examples:

  1. Google Software Engineer, San Francisco, 24yo, $185,000 salary, $55,
  2. 000 rent in SFO, 50% taxes: $37,000 left to spend on living expenses or about $3,000 / month
  3. Mechanical Engineer, Walnut Creek, 27yo, $85,000 salary, $12,000 rent (room), 40% taxes; $22,000 left to spend on living expenses or about 1,800 per month (Leaving California)
  4. Same Mechanical Engineer (Boise Idaho) 27yo, $99,000, $14,400 rent (house), taxes 40%; 45,000 left for expenses or about 3500 per month

If you’re looking to buy a home (ever) in California, you’re looking at $1.4M-$1.7M in San Francisco, 700k – $1.2M in Contra Costa County, 400-600k in Sacramento and a whopping $275k in Boise with better pay.

So when you’re looking at a job, do the math on all aspects of your life – you may find that another part of California is way better for you, or like so many Californians who are jumping ship to other more consumer and financially family-friendly states for greater values and in many cases equivalent salaries.

Food for thought – Bob

Employment opportunities: Best US cities for job seekers in 2018

Unemployment is currently lower than it has been in 17 years. Obviously, that means jobs are out there, but your town might not necessarily be the most booming place in the U.S. right now. Sometimes you have to pull up stakes and move to the zip code where the right job for you is waiting.

According to a recent study, there are particular U.S. cities that are most benefiting from the current unemployment low. Here are the 10 best cities for job seekers in 2018 so far.

  1. San Jose, Calif.

San Jose is the U.S.’s top destination for job seekers. While the unemployment rate in San Jose is no different from that of San Francisco (at 3.3%), at almost $79,000, the average annual salary beats SF’s by nearly $10,000. Techies flock to San Jose-based companies like Apple, Facebook, Cisco, and Google. Major employers, such as the County of Santa Clara and Stanford University, can also share some responsibility for San Jose’s status as the best city for job seekers in the country. The extremely high housing cost in the area (1.3M-2,4M)  though drives workers to commute 1.5 – 3.0 hours each way from places as far as Stockon each day to collect that inflated paycheck.

  1. San Francisco

The job market in California’s Bay Area is currently at an all-time high, with an unemployment rate of 3.3% and an average salary of more than $69,000. Those big money makers are doing well in the coastal city’s tourist, health care, education, and biotech industries. Housing costs are almost un-reachable unless you’re a single individual willing to share an apartment or flat with friends or strangers. Work expectations in SFO are from 50-70 hours per week in many “exempt” jobs. Buying in San Francisco is beyond 90% of workers who travel by Bart or car each day adding 12-18 hours of commute to their already 8-12 hour days.

  1. Boston

On the opposite coast is Boston, the third best city for job seekers on this list. As the country’s center of higher education, those in that field are well employed in Boston. Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston Children’s Hospital, and Brigham and Women’s Hospital are some of the city’s most prolific employers, so East Coasters in the health industry may want to do their job searches here. Average annual salaries are well above the national average at more than $64,000. Boston has a train system that makes commuting better and reaches much of the bedroom community where a house is generally affordable compared to salaries earned.

  1. San Diego

A bit further down south in The Golden State is where California’s medical and education professionals congregate, largely because San Diego is the home of the University of California and such healthcare companies as Sharp and Kaiser Permanente. Salaries are healthy and unemployment has been in steady decline since 2010. There’s no evidence that trends will be shifting in 2018. If you’re attached to the military as a contractor or service person, this is the place for you. If you like the outdoors and spend time exercising on the beach, this is for you. Housing costs range from the reasonable 40 minutes out, to astronomical up on the mountain. With the charm of the 1970’s San Diego is a great place to raise a family, or meet that special outdoorsy someone.

More: Just starting out? 4 pieces of career advice no one will give you

  1. Los Angeles

A little further up the coast, Los Angeles continues to be one of the nation’s biggest destinations for job seekers. Anyone who dreams of breaking into the entertainment industry can still set their sites on L.A., however, the city’s health care and personal care industries are also robust. The police department is also a top employer. Salaries tend to be low but Los Angeles in unmatched in terms of employees finding a satisfying balance between life in and out of the workplace. Traffic. Just, traffic. You can spend thousands on gas each year just getting to and from your job wearing yourself and your car down in the process. LA has not resolved any of its commute problems and most companies are still holding onto the idea that people need to be in the office to work rather than sometimes at home. Housing is lower than the bay area simply because it’s so crowded and affordable units are quite a ways away from central LA or contributing cities.

  1. Minneapolis

If you’re in the personal care industry but prefer snow to sun, you may want to migrate to Minneapolis. Jobs in business, finance, and tech are also plentiful in Minneapolis. Among the city’s biggest employers are Target, 3M and Allina Health System. You must like snow and weather to work here.

  1. Sacramento, Calif.

By now, you’ve likely noticed a serious trend that may inspire you to shout “California, here I come,” as half of the 10 best cities for job seekers reside there. In Sacramento, the personal care and construction industries are among the city’s fastest-growing ones. Sacramento also scores points for its strong salaries and its employees’ tendency to strike a strong balance between life in and outside of work. The sleeper city of California with the government taking a chunk of the job market, construction, retail business, non-profits, and religious institutions are marked contributors to the areas. Housing is commensurate with salaries with homes available in the 450-500k range in many outlying areas. Like the Bay Area though, traffic has become a drag on employees attempting to live outside the city and work within.

  1. Miami

Job security and employee satisfaction are high down south in Miami. And it isn’t just because of all that sun. The tourism industry is strong as more than 27 million people traveled to the city in 2016 alone. As a major port, Miami is also the place to be for those in the trade and manufacturing industries. The city’s construction boom also makes it ripe for those in architecture, real estate and, of course, construction. Salaries tend to be on the low side, but job security is currently higher in Miami than anywhere else in the country. Like most destination cities, pay is lower than expected. Similar to jobs in sports, coaching, or sports announcing, the attraction to the Miami areas weather keeps wages depressed as workers compete for the jobs available.

  1. Seattle

Seattle is where it’s at for those in the tech industry. In fact, nearly 7% of all jobs in the Emerald City are in tech, and companies such as Amazon, Boeing and Microsoft are doing much of the hiring. While one is not especially likely to advance in her or his job in Seattle, salaries are among the highest in the nation.  Housing in Seattle is high, but outside the region they drop considerably. The biggest detractor for Seattle is the commute. While LA and the Bay Area have the roads, Seattle does not, and has not since the 1970’s when the boom began. It’s a beautiful place to live with skiing and boarding only 1.5 hours away (unlike Tahoe of 3-6 hours depending on accidents and traffic)  The scenery is beautiful and well worth many of the inconveniences of the commuter landscape.

  1. Washington, D.C.

The nation’s capital is also rich in opportunities at this moment. While opportunities in the region had been limited for some time, they have really opened up recently. The federal government and the public school system are the city’s biggest employers and offer some of its highest salaries. While jobs are plentiful in D.C., salaries are on the lower side, especially for those in the public sector, but it does rank highly for job security and promotions. If you’re into job security for lower pay, DC may be for you. With little industry outside government, and government jobs change every 2-8 years it’s not really a stable place to build a family and home if you’re in that work track. You’re better off in Boston or Seattle for stability, wage, housing and scenery.

If you want to see what the wages and jobs are for where you want to work,use www.onetonline.org and search STATE TRENDS for the state of choice. The information is enlightening.

Bob Britz

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