The income-to-housing-affordability ratio helped Murfreesboro rank No. 7 among the Top 50 “Best Job Markets” in SmartAsset’s 2023 study of the 340 largest U.S. cities.
“In general, a good job market is one where a worker can make a comfortable and sustainable living, feel confident about their job security and enjoy a suitable work-life balance with important amenities like health insurance,” according to SmartAsset.
The full report, including key findings, a chart with complete data and the study methodology, can be found here.
Top 10 Best Job Markets
- Huntsville, AL
Huntsville is fairly inexpensive to live in based on average job pay. On average, housing costs make up only 15.9% of the $70,757 annual median salary. Unemployment was 3.9%, compared to an average of 6.9% across all cities. The average commute time is 19.2 minutes, although 21.1% of the workforce here was remote. Just over 82% of workers get health insurance through their jobs, and the median income grew 30% between 2019 and 2021.
- Sioux Falls, SD
Unemployment in Sioux Falls was only 1.8%, lowest studywide. The median income was slightly above average at $73,273, of which 16.9% generally goes to housing costs. Only 13.6% of the workforce works from home here, but the commute time for others is only 16.7 minutes. Over two years, workers saw a 20% increase in the median income, and 78% got health insurance through their employer.
- Cary, NC
Cary was most affordable studywide, when comparing the median income to median housing costs (15.2% of a $123,857 income). Unemployment here was a bit on the higher side at 5.3%, which tends to be the trend for cities with higher median incomes. More than 41% of the workforce here was remote, and 86% of the workforce had private health insurance. Over two years, income grew by roughly 16.5%.
- Fargo, ND
Despite having the lowest median income of the top 10 at $59,089, housing affordability is still exceptional in Fargo, with only 17.9% of that income going toward housing costs. Unemployment was 4.2%, 83% of workers got health insurance through their employer and the average commute time was 17.7 minutes. Meanwhile, just over 14% of the workforce was remote.
- Olathe, KS
Housing is affordable in Olathe, as 17.6% of the $99,631 median income goes toward housing costs. Unemployment was only 2.1% in Olathe, while the average commute was 19.8 minutes. Just over 76% of the population commutes to work, with the rest working remotely. Just under 82% of workers got health insurance from their employer. However, wage growth was fairly low here compared to the rest of the top 10, at 5.7%.
- Chandler, AZ
Just under 20% of the $94,613 median income in Chandler goes to housing costs. Unemployment was 3.3% in 2021, while income grew by 13% over two years. While 27.8% of the workforce was remote, the remainder had a 22.4-minute commute time.
- Murfreesboro, TN
The income-to-housing-affordability ratio came in at 19.2% for Murfreesboro, where the typical income was $77,584. Median income increased by 13.5% between 2019 and 2021. About 17.8% of the workforce worked from home, while others had a 24.3-minute commute on average. Across all workers, 83.8% had health insurance through their employer, and unemployment was 4.2%.
- Lincoln, NE
Lincoln had low unemployment at 2.8%, and affordable housing costs relative to the median income at 19.3% of $62,294. The average commute was only 18.4 minutes long, while a relatively low percentage of the workforce worked remotely (13.2%). More than 81% of employees got their health insurance through work. However, Lincoln had fairly low income growth at just 5.2%.
- Bellevue, WA
While Bellevue had the highest unemployment rate of the top 10 at 5.8%, the median income was also highest at $144,274 – fourth-most studywide. Housing payments accounted for only 18.5% of the median income, and nearly 45% of the workforce worked from home. The other portion had a 22.1-minute commute. Income grew by just over 13% in two years, and 84.7% of workers had employer-sponsored health insurance.
- Arlington, VA
Arlington had the highest proportion of remote workers studywide at 48%. The other half of the workforce had an average commute of 22.2 minutes. At 88.8%, Arlington also had a particularly high rate of workers getting health insurance through their job. However, Arlington also had the lowest wage growth among the top 10 at 4.9%. Still, the median income was relatively high at $125,651, of which 20.7% typically goes toward housing.