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Twenty Best Places to Start Over 2010

  1. Where the Jobs Are
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    Where the Jobs Are

    Many Americans, eager to shake off gloomy memories of recent years, are searching for a fresh start. The National Bureau of Economic Research may say the recession is behind us (for now), but the job markets in most areas have yet to rebound significantly. Millions are still looking for stable employment. Fortunately, mobile Americans are not known to shy from moving for opportunities. To identify where job-seekers have a shot at a second chance, Businessweek.com evaluated 100 metro areas based on employers' 2010 Q1-Q4 hiring expectations in Manpower's quarterly Employment Outlook Survey, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics unemployment rate data, year-on-year change in unemployment, and year-on-year change in number of jobs. Several metro areas in Texas--Houston, El Paso, Austin, and San Antonio--as well in New York--Albany, Rochester, Poughkeepsie, Syracuse, and Buffalo--ranked high, though none of these places took the top spot. Most places on the list share a stable employment base in government, health care, and education, as well as programs and resources to support startups, especially in the high-tech sector.


    Click here to see the 20 best places in the U.S. to start over.

    AFP
  2. Best Place to Start Over No. 20: Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, Tex., Metropolitan Statistical Area
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    Best Place to Start Over No. 20: Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, Tex., Metropolitan Statistical Area

    Employers planning to increase hiring in Q4*: 18 percent
    Unemployment rate**: 8.7 percent
    YOY change unemployment rate***: +0.5 percentage points
    YOY change in number of jobs****: -900 (zero percent)


    People are finding fresh starts in cities across Texas: The state saw its population grow by 2 percent year-on-year in 2009, according to Census Bureau figures. The health-care and oil and gas industries added jobs in the Houston area during the recession, according to data from the Texas Workforce Commission, although the construction, manufacturing, and retail sectors shed jobs. Employment levels are still lower than last year, but Erik Noriega, a spokesman for the Greater Houston Partnership, says the region has gained jobs in recent months, and at the current pace, all lost jobs can be replaced in the next 18 to 36 months.


    * Hiring plans: Manpower Q4 2010 Employment Outlook Survey of 100 MSAs
    ** Unemployment rate: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, August 2010, preliminary
    *** Change in unemployment rate from August 2009-August 2010
    **** Change in number of employees on nonfarm payrolls, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, August 2009-August 2010, preliminary

    Bloomberg
  3. Best Place to Start Over No. 19: Jackson, Miss., MSA
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    Best Place to Start Over No. 19: Jackson, Miss., MSA

    Employers planning to increase hiring in Q4: 15 percent
    Unemployment rate: 6.8 percent
    YOY change unemployment rate: -0.9 percentage points
    YOY change in number of jobs: +1,300 (+0.5 percent)


    Few people think of Mississippi as a place to start over, but the numbers show a positive story: The unemployment rate in the Jackson area fell to 6.8 percent in August from 9.2 percent in July, BLS data show, and the number of jobs in education, government, and health services has slowly increased. Major employers in the capital region include the government, University of Mississippi Medical Center, Nissan, and Baptist Health Systems, according to greaterjacksonms.com. The Greater Jackson Alliance, a regional development group, aims to grow the automotive and logistics sectors.

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  4. Best Place to Start Over No. 18: Albany-Schenectady-Troy, N.Y., MSA
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    Best Place to Start Over No. 18: Albany-Schenectady-Troy, N.Y., MSA

    Employers planning to increase hiring in Q4: 17 percent
    Unemployment rate: 6.8 percent
    YOY change unemployment rate: zero percentage points
    YOY change in number of jobs: -1,200 (-0.3 percent)


    Several upstate New York areas ranked high on Businessweek.com's list of places to start over. Government, health care, and education are mainstays of the economy in Albany, but the semiconductor, advanced materials, IT, biotech, cleantech, and homeland security sectors also have been growing, says Center for Economic Growth President F. Michael Tucker. Drawing high-tech companies to the area are research and development resources such as the University at Albany-SUNY and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. More than 10,000 new jobs are expected to be added in the region between now and 2012 by General Electric, GlobalFoundries' new $6.5 billion semiconductor plant in Malta, and supporting supply chain companies, Tucker says.

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  5. Best Place to Start Over No. 17: Lexington-Fayette, Ky., MSA
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    Best Place to Start Over No. 17: Lexington-Fayette, Ky., MSA

    Employers planning to increase hiring in Q4: 17 percent
    Unemployment rate: 8.6 percent
    YOY change unemployment rate: -0.2 percentage points
    YOY change in number of jobs: -200 (-0.1 percent)


    Josh Fenner, research director at Commerce Lexington, says the area is seeing a gradual increase in service-sector jobs as manufacturing declines. For example, Affiliated Computer Services, a Xerox company that provides call-center services, will add up to 950 jobs in the area, he says. Infrastructure improvements, such as new sidewalks, roads, and airport renovations, completed for the 2010 World Equestrian Games, also aim to make the area more attractive to residents and businesses. Major Lexington-area employers include University of Kentucky, Toyota's assembly plant in Georgetown, and Saint Joseph Health System, according to commercelexington.com.

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  6. Best Place to Start Over No. 16: Rochester, N.Y., MSA
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    Best Place to Start Over No. 16: Rochester, N.Y., MSA

    Employers planning to increase hiring in Q4: 19 percent
    Unemployment rate: 7.5 percent
    YOY change unemployment rate: -0.3 percentage points
    YOY change in number of jobs: -4,400 (-0.9 percent)


    If you love Cool Whip, the Rochester area is the place to go: All the frozen Cool Whip in the world is produced by the 440 employees in Kraft's plant in Avon, N.Y., according to Kraft. Fortunately, the Rochester area's diverse economy offers more than dessert toppings. The area has 18 colleges and universities, three hospital systems, optics companies including Bausch & Lomb and CooperVision, as well as food and beverage companies such as Constellation Brands, Seneca Foods, Mott's, and Kraft. According to Greater Rochester Enterprise, an economic development organization, the area also aims to attract startups in alternative energy, including biofuels, fuel cells, solar, and wind.

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  7. Best Place to Start Over No. 14: El Paso, Tex., MSA
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    Best Place to Start Over No. 14: El Paso, Tex., MSA

    Employers planning to increase hiring in Q4: 22 percent
    Unemployment rate: 10.2 percent
    YOY change unemployment rate: +0.6 percentage points
    YOY change in number of jobs: +1,100 (+0.4 percent)


    El Paso and its sister city Ciudad Juarez in Mexico comprise the largest metropolitan area on the U.S.-Mexico border, according to elpaso.org, and the population of El Paso County is expected to grow nearly 70 percent between 2000 and 2040. Recently, the area has seen the expansion of Fort Bliss, the Paul L. Foster School of Medicine at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, and the University of Texas at El Paso. The military, life sciences, cleantech, and auto industries are target areas for development, according to the El Paso Regional Economic Development Corporation.

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  8. Best Place to Start Over No. 13: Tulsa, Okla., MSA
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    Best Place to Start Over No. 13: Tulsa, Okla., MSA

    Employers planning to increase hiring in Q4: 19 percent
    Unemployment rate: 7.6 percent
    YOY change unemployment rate: +0.2 percentage points
    YOY change in number of jobs: zero percent


    Oil and gas-rich Tulsa, once called the oil capital of the world, has also grown into a hub for aerospace manufacturing, air transportation, health care, telecommunications, and metals manufacturing. There are more than 30,000 jobs in aerospace-related industry in northeast Oklahoma and the Aerospace Alliance of Tulsa represents more than 250 aerospace companies from the surrounding region, according to tulsaareapartnership.com. The area's largest employers include American Airlines, Saint Francis Health System, and Spirit AeroSystems, according to the Tulsa Metro Chamber.

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  9. Best Place to Start Over No. 12: Boston-Cambridge-Quincy, Mass.-N.H., MSA
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    Best Place to Start Over No. 12: Boston-Cambridge-Quincy, Mass.-N.H., MSA

    Employers planning to increase hiring in Q4: 16 percent
    Unemployment rate: 7.6 percent
    YOY change unemployment rate: -0.6 percentage points
    YOY change in number of jobs: +36,600 (+1.5 percent)


    The greater Boston area is expected to gain 290,000 new jobs between 2000 and 2030, according to the Metropolitan Area Planning Council. The city's 34 colleges and universities sustain employment and feed talent to the 22 hospitals and large number of technology startups in the area. The city also plans to develop an innovation district with research incubators, live-work space, and housing for college graduates, reported The Boston Globe.

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  10. Best Place to Start Over No. 11: Poughkeepsie-Newburgh-Middletown, N.Y., MSA
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    Best Place to Start Over No. 11: Poughkeepsie-Newburgh-Middletown, N.Y., MSA

    Employers planning to increase hiring in Q4: 20 percent
    Unemployment rate: 7.6 percent
    YOY change unemployment rate: -0.3 percentage points
    YOY change in number of jobs: -2,100 (-0.9 percent)


    The Poughkeepsie area had one of the strongest fourth-quarter employment outlooks in Manpower's survey: 20 percent of respondents plan to hire and only 6 percent plan to decrease staff levels. Computer and microelectronics manufacturing are the leading employers in Dutchess County, where IBM, Praxair, Global Foundries, and other tech companies have operations, according to the county's Economic Development Corporation. Cleantech and medical device companies have also emerged: photovoltaic cells manufacturer SpectraWatt's new facility, which launched in May, has added about 110 new jobs. A startup medical device manufacturer, Life Medical Technologies, plans to create about 250 jobs over the next three years, according to a release.

    Colin D. Young
  11. Best Place to Start Over No. 9: Buffalo-Niagara Falls, N.Y., MSA
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    Best Place to Start Over No. 9: Buffalo-Niagara Falls, N.Y., MSA

    Employers planning to increase hiring in Q4: 18 percent
    Unemployment rate: 7.6 percent
    YOY change unemployment rate: -0.4 percentage points
    YOY change in number of jobs: -900 (-0.2 percent)


    With research centers such as the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus and a cluster of medical device and pharmaceutical manufacturers, including APP Pharmaceuticals and Invitrogen, Buffalo hopes to position itself as a center for medical innovation. As the number of manufacturing jobs in the Buffalo Niagara region declined, jobs grew in the financial, health, education, and professional services sectors, according to the Buffalo Niagara Enterprise.

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  12. Best Place to Start Over No. 8: Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, Minn.-Wis., MSA
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    Best Place to Start Over No. 8: Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, Minn.-Wis., MSA

    Employers planning to increase hiring in Q4: 15 percent
    Unemployment rate: 7 percent
    YOY change unemployment rate: -0.9 percentage points
    YOY change in number of jobs: +6,300 (+0.4 percent)


    The development strategy for Minneapolis focuses on growing its existing strengths: finance, real estate, and medical technology, according to Kristin Guild, manager of business development for the City of Minneapolis. Other strong sectors include marketing and creative arts, she says. The greater Minneapolis area is home to major companies such as General Mills, Target, and Cargill, as well as some well-known startups such as TinyURL, GovDelivery, and GasBuddy.

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  13. Best Place to Start Over No. 7: Austin-Round Rock, Tex., MSA
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    Best Place to Start Over No. 7: Austin-Round Rock, Tex., MSA

    Employers planning to increase hiring in Q4: 15 percent
    Unemployment rate: 7.2 percent
    YOY change unemployment rate: -0.1 percentage points
    YOY change in number of jobs: +18,700 (+2.5 percent)


    A growing technology hub, Austin attracted tens of millions of dollars of venture capital in the software, semiconductor, and networking and equipment sectors last year (although investment slowed significantly in the recession). According to austin-chamber.org, the largest private employers in the region include Dell, IBM, and St. David's HealthCare. Employers such as LegalZoom, web hosting company HostGator, and Facebook also announced plans to increase hiring, according to the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce.

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  14. Best Place to Start Over No. 6: Madison, Wis., MSA
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    Best Place to Start Over No. 6: Madison, Wis., MSA

    Employers planning to increase hiring in Q4: 17 percent
    Unemployment rate: 5.6 percent
    YOY change unemployment rate: -0.5 percentage points
    YOY change in number of jobs: -400 (-0.1 percent)


    The largest employers are the State of Wisconsin and the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the Madison area, where the economy relies on financial services, insurance, agriculture, health care, education, and government. The area is also growing its high-tech base: The regional economic development enterprise, Thrive, aims to increase business in three main sectors--agriculture, health care, and technology.

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  15. Best Place to Start Over No. 5: Greenville-Mauldin-Easley, S.C., MSA
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    Best Place to Start Over No. 5: Greenville-Mauldin-Easley, S.C., MSA

    Employers planning to increase hiring in Q4: 20 percent
    Unemployment rate: 10.3 percent
    YOY change unemployment rate: -0.8 percentage points
    YOY change in number of jobs: +700 (+0.2 percent)


    With designated foreign trade zones, upstate South Carolina is home to more than 250 international firms from 26 nations, according to the City of Greenville. Major employers include Michelin North America, General Electric, and packaging products manufacturer Sealed Air, according to the Upstate South Carolina Alliance. Another boon to the area: research facilities at the Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research and the Millennium Campus.

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  16. Best Place to Start Over No. 4: Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, Wis., MSA
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    Best Place to Start Over No. 4: Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, Wis., MSA

    Employers planning to increase hiring in Q4: 18 percent
    Unemployment rate: 8.5 percent
    YOY change unemployment rate: -0.8 percentage points
    YOY change in number of jobs: -2,600 (-0.3 percent)


    In a survey by the Milwaukee Association of Commerce, a majority of companies expect profit gains in the fourth quarter. The health sector remains one of the fastest-growing industries in the greater Milwaukee region, and health-care-related occupations are expected to increase by 13 percent between 2008 and 2015, reported The Business Journal. Major employers include Aurora Health Care, Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare, and Roundy's Supermarkets.

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  17. Best Place to Start Over No. 3: San Antonio, Tex., MSA
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    Best Place to Start Over No. 3: San Antonio, Tex., MSA

    Employers planning to increase hiring in Q4: 19 percent
    Unemployment rate: 7.6 percent
    YOY change unemployment rate: +0.5 percentage points
    YOY change in number of jobs: +1,000 (+0.1 percent)


    San Antonio's biggest employers include Fort Sam Houston, Lackland Air Force Base, and financial-services association USAA, according to the area's Economic Development Foundation. The military has contributed significantly to the area's employment growth, with the expansion of Fort Sam expected to lead to 10,000 new jobs. Other major industries include aerospace, IT, health care, and bioscience, according to sachamber.org.

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  18. Best Place to Start Over No. 2: Raleigh-Cary, N.C., MSA
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    Best Place to Start Over No. 2: Raleigh-Cary, N.C., MSA

    Employers planning to increase hiring in Q4: 21 percent
    Unemployment rate: 8.2 percent
    YOY change unemployment rate: -0.9 percentage points
    YOY change in number of jobs: -900 (-0.2 percent)


    Businessweek.com previously ranked Raleigh among the country's strongest job markets. A large percentage of Raleigh's economy is devoted to government, education, and health care, according to Raleigh Economic Development. Using Research Triangle resources, the area hopes to expand its electric vehicles, photonics, IT, medical, and biotech industries.

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  19. Best Place to Start Over No. 1: Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, D.C.-Va.-Md.-W.V., MSA
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    Best Place to Start Over No. 1: Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, D.C.-Va.-Md.-W.V., MSA

    Employers planning to increase hiring in Q4: 23 percent
    Unemployment rate: 6.2 percent
    YOY change unemployment rate: +0.1 percentage points
    YOY change in number of jobs: +20,500 (+0.7 percent)


    D.C. offers diverse opportunities for people looking to start over. It may primarily be a spot for government, which has stabilized local employment, but other industries such as defense, IT, biotech, energy, and hospitalities also contribute significantly to the economy, according to the Greater Washington Initiative. The region ranks No. 1 globally for government research and development spending per capita, and its 50 federal labs and institutes are more than in any other region of the U.S., according to the organization.

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