NEW YORK (MainStreet) — In the midst of a career change, Kevin Pham enrolled in a design bootcamp. Although the Los Angeles-based 26-year-old finished the course and gained valuable skills, it took him five months to land his current job as a user experience designer. “I had no relevant job experience,” said Pham.

He built up his resume with freelance projects and began the process of interviewing until he secured a full time position at an SEM platform company in Santa Monica. "I had a few leads online but ultimately found my current job through networking," Pham MainStreet. "The current job market is steadily improving especially in the Los Angeles tech area where the amount of new startups and venture capital money is at an all time high."  

While the U.S. economy added 2.9 million new jobs last year, many Americans remain unemployed or underemployed with some cities offering better job opportunities than others, according to ZipRecruiter analysis of 1.9 million active job postings.

Job titles most prevalent within the retail, insurance and construction sectors include sales associate, insurance sales agent, construction estimator and construction project manager.

“Smaller and mid-sized metro areas will provide better job opportunities than larger cities along the Coasts,” said Leon Tchikindas, data scientist with ZipRecruiter.


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Cities with the best job markets in 2015 include Lincoln, Neb. for job growth in construction, financial services, state government, manufacturing and health care; followed by Odessa, Texas for jobs in the energy, construction, health care, and service sectors; and Minneapolis, Minn. where health care, tech, food manufacturing and professional services positions abound.

“What we've seen in our data is that there is much lower competition for jobs in smaller markets which, combined with wider trends, creates robust job markets where the ratio of jobseekers to open jobs is as low as six people to one job,” Tchikindas told MainStreet.

While wider trends include the shale-oil boom in the upper Midwest, jobs most posted include local truck drivers, insurance sales, tax professionals, nurse practitioner and master merchandiser.

"The boost shale-oil boom in the upper Midwest can be seen most directly in the strong demand for trucking and transportation workers but the booming economy is also contributing to regional hiring in education, healthcare, construction, and manufacturing," said Tchikindas. Nationally, cities with the strongest demand for new workers in the upcoming months include Boston, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C. and Chicago. Tchikindas expects to see increased demand in sales, retail, insurance and hospitality.

--Written for MainStreet by Juliette Fairley