AMU Careers Careers & Learning Military Private Sector Veterans

Top 10 Cities for Job Seeking Veterans

Pinterest LinkedIn Tumblr

Currently there are almost 2.6 million post 9/11 veterans living in the United States today, with another million predicted to be leaving the military through the year 2016 according to the Department of Veterans Affairs.  With an unemployment rate of 10%, veterans have a very important choice to make regarding the city in which they decide to live after separating from the military.  Job availability, accompanied by reasonable cost-of-living, will be a main determinant as to which cities these veterans end up calling home. According to Sperling’s BestPlaces, they identify the following cities as the top 10 veteran employment friendly cities in the country.  The factors used to determine cities rank were job growth, unemployment rate, number of jobs in industries that place value on skills military members would possess, safety, quality of life and affordability.

#10  Fort Lauderdale Florida


Due to the recent drop in the housing market, quality low-cost housing is available to new residents.  The areas cost of living is significantly lower than the national average and has shown strong economic growth.  The two major industries associated with this area are tourism and marine commerce.


  • Population:  1.8 million
  • Unemployment:  5.7%
  • Recent Job Growth:  3.1%

#9  Orlando Florida


This city can boast having the lowest median home prices of our top 10 list.  This coupled with its current strong economic growth gives is much appeal.  This area has a large leisure and hospitality based industry and is home to the University of Central Florida, one of the countries largest institutes of higher learning.


  • Population:  2.1 million
  • Unemployment:  6.6%
  • Recent Job Growth:  2.5%

#8  Salt Lake City Utah


The lowest unemployment rate of our top 10, as well as the highest rate of job growth in the past 12 months is a huge boost to this city’s desirability.  It does, however, also carry the highest median home prices in our top 10 list coming in at approximately $220,000.  This is offset by the fact that it possesses on of the highest household income rates nationwide.  It is also the home of the University of Utah.


  • Population:  1.2 million
  • Unemployment:  4.5%
  • Recent Job Growth:  4%

#7  Tampa Florida


This city is highest on our list as far as being the most affordable place to live.  The recent housing downturn has left home prices at a remarkable low rate with a median of approximately $105,000.  Although still below the national average, Tampa’s unemployment rate is the highest on our list of top 10 but is countered by tying for the highest percentage of job growth.


  • Population:  2.8 million
  • Unemployment:  6.9%
  • Recent Job Growth:  4%

#6  Norfolk Virginia

121219-N-TB177-875 NORFOLK (Dec. 19, 2012) The aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69), right, returns to Naval Station Norfolk after a six-month deployment to the U.S. 5th and 6th Fleet areas of responsibility in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Kevin J. Steinberg/Released)

This city is home to the largest number of military installations in any metro area.  Among some of the more well-known facilities, NASA and the Commerce, Transportation and Energy and Veterans Affairs.  If does have a relatively high unemployment rate for our list, however, it is still below the national average.  While home prices are higher in this area, they are not highly unreasonable.


  • Population:  1.7 million
  • Unemployment:  5.7%
  • Recent Job Growth:  1.7%

#5  Austin Texas


The state capital of Texas in known for its large tech industry and being the home of the University of Texas.  Austin has one of the highest household incomes of our top 10 and has a strong economic structure.  It has one of the lower unemployment rates with a relatively high job growth percentage.


  • Population:  1.7 million
  • Unemployment:  5.3%
  • Recent Job Growth:  3.4%

#4  Oklahoma City


Of our list of top 10, Oklahoma City has the lowest cost of living with $106,000 being the median home price.  There are also a number of government employment opportunities being the state capital.  It is also home to two major universities, Oklahoma University and Oklahoma State University, as well as Tinker Air Force base.


  • Population:  1.2 million
  • Unemployment:  4.6%
  • Recent Job Growth:  1.7%

#3  Minneapolis Minnesota


Inhabitants of this city enjoy a high quality of living, as well as the lowest crime rate among our top 10.  Even though the cost of living is slightly higher than the national average, the amount of household income ranks the highest in our city countdown.  The healthcare and education industries thrive in this area.


  • Population:  3.3 million
  • Unemployment:  5.3%
  • Recent Job Growth:  1.8%

#2  Dallas Texas

dallas skyline at night from a parking lot.

Dallas achieved its high ranking due to its progressive economy and affordable cost of living.  Housing prices held steady and job growth continued to be strong.  This city is home to a wide range of resident resources including entertainment and cultural outlets, large numbers of medical facilities and a major international airport hub.


  • Population:  4.4 million
  • Unemployment:  6.2%
  • Recent Job Growth:  2.9%

#1  Houston Texas


Houston received its number one ranking because of its affordable living, stimulating economy and the vast number of jobs available to those individuals who possess a skill set that is very similar to skills obtained in the military.  There is an easy transition in employment from military to civilian careers in this area.  The city also has a low unemployment rate and a job growth rate that in the past year has been within the top 10 percent of the nation’s metro areas.


  • Population:  5.9 million
  • Unemployment:  6.1%
  • Recent Job Growth:  2.6%

Wes O’Donnell is an Army and Air Force veteran and writer covering military and tech topics. As a sought-after professional speaker, Wes has presented at U.S. Air Force Academy, Fortune 500 companies, and TEDx, covering trending topics from data visualization to leadership and veterans’ advocacy. As a filmmaker, he directed the award-winning short film, “Memorial Day.”

Comments are closed.