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"I Love This Town," Bon Jovi once sang about Music City. And so do job-seekers today.

This weekend, The Wall Street Journal published its annual ranking of the hottest metro area job markets in America. Nashville, Tennessee topped the list, followed by Austin, Texas in the runner-up spot -- with the rest of the top ten reading like a concert touring schedule through America's southeast.

I Hate New York

Gone are the days of moving to the big city as the only way to find big opportunities, at least according to WSJ ranking, which uses Moody's Analytics study of 2022 Labor Department data to weigh cities by unemployment rate, labor-force participation rate, changes to employment levels, the size of the labor force, and wages. That had the Big Apple ranking 54th out of 56 cities with populations of over 1 million, meaning if you can make it there you really can make it anywhere. Los Angeles came in 49th, Philly 41st, and Chicago 25th.

Indeed, if the report tells any story about America's shifting preferences, it's that expensive coastal cities are on the outs, sunshine is in, and the pandemic is disappearing in the rearview mirror:

  • The hospitality and experience economies in America's hottest jobs markets are booming, with music venues and restaurants driving growth in top-ranked cities like Jacksonville (3), Atlanta (6), Orlando (7), and others.
  • "These are lower-cost areas, they are growing rapidly, there's an increasingly large critical mass of young, educated people," Moody's economist Adam Kamins told the WSJ. "The affordability is really appealing to families as well."

Tech Support: The biggest of tech titans may be undergoing massive layoffs, but that hasn't hit traditionally tech-heavy metros too hard -- at least not yet. San Francisco came in 18th, Seattle 17th, and San Jose 14th, while emerging hubs Denver and Miami hit 10th and 11th, respectively. But remember: A year from now, we'll get to see if Silicon Valley's looming AI revolution makes or takes jobs.