Seattle home prices can’t possibly fall, because we’ve got one of the best job markets in the country! At least, that’s how the argument goes… but according to the latest claims from Forbes, that argument might not hold much water.
Oklahoma has inspired its share of songs and one memorable musical. But it’s not exactly a top destination for recent college graduates looking for work. Usually, 22-year-olds flock to cosmopolitan cities like New York and San Francisco, assuming that’s where they’ll find the most opportunities for work (and, let’s be honest, a social life). But they might be heading in the wrong direction. Oklahoma City made it on to our list of the 25 best American cities to get a job. New York’s ranking? No. 75.
Of course, if you want a job in finance, you should still consider New York–Warren Buffett notwithstanding. And while Oklahoma City surely has a thriving arts community, the major metropolitan areas are probably your best bet if you want a career in theater. Our list looks only at statistics; we don’t focus on which areas are best for specific careers. And for the second time in a row, the big cities performed poorly. While Washington D.C. is fifth on the list (down from No. 1 last year), Chicago (No. 82), Los Angeles (No. 88), San Francisco (No. 86) and Boston (No. 83) couldn’t even break the top 75.
So where should you look for work? We wouldn’t rule out New York or Los Angeles; highly educated job-seekers should be able to find opportunities there. But the major metropolitan areas will probably never shine on this list. Despite high median incomes, they are generally plagued by unemployment, expensive housing and low job growth.
Coming in at number 34 on the full rankings, Seattle out-performed many of the larger cities. Keep in mind though that this is the same source that five months ago predicted Seattle home prices will shoot to the moon.
It should also be noted that #1 on the list is Raleigh, NC, home of Research Triangle Park. Raleigh is a strong competitor to Seattle when it comes to technology jobs, and if you put any stock in Forbes’ calculations (which I’m not saying I do), they currently come out on top by a long shot.
Seattle’s a great place with a strong job market (at the moment), but you’re only fooling yourself if you think we’re unique, special, and invulnerable to serious housing market declines because of it. The point I’m trying to make is that there are plenty of places around the country with job markets as good as or even better than Seattle. A good local job market obviously won’t hurt the housing market, but it won’t save it, either.
(Hannah Clark, Forbes, 02.16.2007)