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The 10 worst US cities for job growth and earning potential in 2023

bakersfield, californiaBakersfield, California (pictured above) was ranked the worst city for job opportunities and earning potential, according to a new study from Checkr.


  • There are more job openings than seekers in the US, but not all cities have equal opportunities.
  • HR firm Checkr ranked the worst US cities for employment opportunities and earning potential.
  • Cities based around agriculture and manufacturing have seen slower job growth and lower salaries.

While there are more jobs available than there are job seekers in the US, the opportunities are not equal throughout the country.

Earlier this week, background check firm Checkr released a study ranking the best and worst American cities for employment opportunities and earning potential in 2023 after analyzing data on 100 cities from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics and other government agencies. 

Employment opportunities for each city were evaluated based on its unemployment rate, size and growth of its labor force, the percentage of jobs open, and the percentage of open jobs, according to the study. Earning potential was based on each city’s real per capita personal income, 10-year income growth, and percentage of households that make over $200,00 a year.

While the tech industry in cities like Austin, San Jose, and San Francisco continues to drive job growth with high-paying jobs, the agriculture, manufacturing, automative, and education industries in small cities are seeing slower job growth and lower salaries, Sarah Korelevich, the author of the report, told Insider.

Workers in lower-ranked cities make an average of $47,521 a year, she said. 

“The findings show that the current state of the US job market varies in big and small cities,” Korelevich said. “In general, large and growing mid-sized cities have a more diverse job market with a wider range of industries and high-paying job opportunities, while small cities tend to have a more limited job market that is often focused on specific industries such as agriculture or manufacturing.”

The 10 American cities with the worst employment opportunities and job salaries, according to Checkr, are: 

1. Bakersfield, California

2. Augusta, Georgia

3. Scranton, Pennsylvania

4. Buffalo, New York

5. Jackson, Mississippi

6. Rochester, New York 

7. Syracuse, New York 

8. Toledo, Ohio

9. El Paso, Texas 

10. Lakeland, Florida 

Bakersfield’s economy is dominated by industries like agriculture, petroleum, and manufacturing, according to Forbes, with an unemployment rate of 8.9% as of February of this year, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The overall US unemployment rate as of that month was 3.6%. 

Government, health care, retail trade, and manufacturing industries primarily make up Augusta’s economy, according to 2020 data from the Augusta Economic Development Authority. Augusta’s median household income is $9,600 below the national median income, per AEDA. 

Jobs in manufacturing, trade, transportation, and construction are prominent in Scranton, a town with a “less healthy job market” than cities of similar size, according to U.S. News & World Report. Jackson, Toledo, El Paso, and Lakeland  also have a “less healthy job market,” per US News. 

“Overall, the current state of the US job market is improving, but challenges remain in certain industries and geographic regions,” Korelevich said. 

Read the original article on Business Insider
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