Your Sweet Spot: Where Job Opportunity and Affordable Housing Intersect

March 16, 2017

A new Sweet Spots report from Zillow and LinkedIn highlights the U.S. metros that offer professionals affordable housing and strong job opportunity.

Finding a decent place to rent in a desirable city that’s within your budget, while also having some extra spending money left over seems like a near-impossible task. For this reason, we combined forces with Zillow to uncover U.S. metros where this is a reality.

To do this, we analyzed employment and housing data for a common set of priorities for today’s professional: namely, an affordable home and a good job. We looked at LinkedIn’s job listings and LinkedIn Salary data, and the percent of workers hired in the past year. Additionally, we examined income tax rates and Zillow’s median rent and home value data to identify “Sweet Spot” cities across the country. If you’re considering making a move, these are the sweet spot metros where you can get hired and pocket the largest share of your income (after paying for housing and accounting for taxes.)*

Here are some of the highlights:

Indianapolis is the #1 Sweet Spot to get hired and enjoy more disposable income.

The five cities that topped the list as “Sweet Spots” for affordability and job prosperity all enjoy strong hiring rates, and leave professionals with an average of 50% of their income after rent and taxes. Indianapolis tops the list and is the number one Sweet Spot city on our list with high hiring rates, higher than average salary-to-rent ratio, and a prosperous job market. Interestingly, Austin had the #1 hiring rate across all cities analyzed, and in previous research, we also discovered Austin was the #1 city attracting millennials.

  • Indi

Sweet Spot

Monthly Disposable Income (%)

Monthly Disposable Income ($)

Hiring Rate (% Hired in 2016)

1. Indianapolis

53.5%

$4,606

7.1%

2. Austin

50.9%

$4,964

9.7%

3. Nashville

53.6%

$4,195

7.1%

4. Pittsburgh

55.3%

$4,616

7.5%

5. Minneapolis

45.9%

$4,703

8.3%

Industry Sweet Spots: If you’re working in finance, tech or healthcare, consider these cities.

Hiring in the U.S. is strong across the board, but a few cities are offering more job opportunities for these industries, as well as higher disposable income.

Some of our key findings may surprise you: Seattle tech workers can expect to pocket about $2,000 more in disposable income each month than tech workers in Silicon Valley. Healthcare workers have the best shot at a job and an affordable home in Phoenix, Indianapolis and Boston. And among larger cities, Charlotte, Chicago and Dallas offer the greatest chance of a good job and affordable housing for finance workers.

If you're in finance, head to the Midwest or South if you want more disposable income.

  • Char

Sweet Spot

Monthly Disposable Income (%)

Monthly Disposable Income ($)

Hiring Rate (% Hired in 2016)

1. Charlotte

52.3%

$3,685

10.5%

2. Dallas

53.4%

$3,597

10%

3. Phoenix

50.6%

$3,249

10.8%

4. Boston

41.7%

$3,198

11.7%

5. Chicago

48.8%

$3,453

11%

If you’re in tech, Seattle is the #1 Sweet Spot.

  • SEA

Sweet Spot

Monthly Disposable Income (%)

Monthly Disposable Income ($)

Hiring Rate (% Hired in 2016)

1. Seattle   

54.3%

$5,493

13.6%

2. Austin

53.8%

$4,336

14.4%

3. Pittsburgh  

56.4%

$3,681

11.9%

4. San Francisco       

35.6%

$3,964

14.2%

5. Dallas

54.9%

$4,121

10.8%


Phoenix is the #1 Sweet Spot for healthcare professionals, but if you’re looking to get hired quickly, head to Austin.

  • phx

Sweet Spot

Disposable Income (%)

Disposable Income ($)

Hiring Rate (% Hired in 2016)

1. Phoenix  

52.1%

$3,793

6.8%

2. Indianapolis

53.7%

$3,111

5.9%

3. Boston

40.1%

$2,861

7.9%

4. Denver

40.5%

$2,580

7.5%

5. Austin

48.7%

$2,846

8.1

Throughout our analysis a few Midwestern cities appeared in nearly every segment: Indianapolis, Pittsburgh and Minneapolis, boasting strong hiring rates and the opportunity to have more disposable income. If the South or Southwest is more your flavor, Austin, Houston and Nashville are attractive cities for job seekers. If you’re interested in a deeper dive on all the factors that went into this analysis and additional findings, head over to our Jobs Blog.

No matter which one of these cities you land in, LinkedIn is standing by to help you find your next job opportunity. Get out there and #StartSomething

*Disposable income amount is calculated after paying rent and taxes on salary. It does not include other monthly expenses, such as bills or food.

Additional contributors to this post: Rachel Bowley, LinkedIn Economic Graph Analyst, and Zillow

Methodology

LinkedIn and Zillow used combined data to create a Sweet Spot score for each metro area that weighted three factors equally:

  • Hiring rate: the share of workers who started their job in the past 12 months. Zillow scaled the number of job openings by the adult population of a given metro according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2011-2015 American Community Survey.

  • Number of job openings: The number of unique job listings on LinkedIn in 2016; and

  • Disposable Income was calculated by subtracting housing costs in December 2016 according to Zillow data from the median total salary reported on LinkedIn for workers in a given industry and metro through January 2017.