The ebb and flow of populations moving in and out of urban centers has a direct effect on the growth of our economies.  It seems that at present, our cities are seeing an influx of people.  Some folks move to the cities to find work, others for education, or to find better access to healthcare and treatment, and others for the proximity to transportation, family or personal conveniences and to improve their quality of life.   But does moving to a city increase your chances of finding work?  The answer is a qualified, “Yes”.
Sure, if you career goals relate to agriculture, farming, animal husbandry, manufacturing or similar pursuit, your job prospects might be a bit reduced within the confines of an urban center.  Certainly there may be educational opportunities to study these professions in or near city centers, but the actual jobs in these fields will usually be well outside of the urban area.  Manufacturing and distribution will frequently be within reasonably close proximity to urban centers to facilitate getting their products to the people.
Not all cities nurture the same kind of industries.  For example:  In the San Francisco Bay Area, there are a lot of computer technology, bio-tech and pharmaceutical industries, in addition to the usual urban jobs in banking, healthcare, construction, international trade, and tourism.  This isn’t to say that you can’t find these kinds of jobs elsewhere, just that they tend to be more prevalent in larger cities.
As some cities grow, the influx of new people brings the development of new ideas and new businesses.  In Bend, Oregon, for instance, the major industry was once lumber and logging.  This makes sense when you consider the town sits on the Eastern slopes of the Cascade Mountains.  But the biggest lumber mills closed in the late 70’s-early 80’s, which could have led the town to ruin and blight.  Fortunately, today, through the insight of urban planners, and the smarts of business owners who recognized all the area has to offer, Bend is fast becoming a tech center with an entrepreneurial spirit similar to that of Silicon Valley 20 years ago.  Bio-tech, pharmaceutical, telecommunications, and outdoor recreation industries are all experiencing rapid growth.
The people who are building new companies and creating job opportunities in places like Bend are able to find and attract employees who have the skills and talent they need to foster success.   Some skilled professionals move there from relatively nearby or distant urban centers for new challenges, as well as the wide array of outdoor recreation options available.  Students are attracted to the area by the partnerships between local universities and local industries to offer curricula focusing on the skills needed for success in these new endeavors.  The value of their education increases because it is current and directly related to the industries and needs within their community.
Other geographic areas experiencing similar growth in jobs and new business include Salt Lake City, Utah; Albuquerque, New Mexico; Omaha, Nebraska; and Las Vegas, Nevada.  New businesses flock there because of cheaper rents, economic development incentives from the municipalities, and opportunities for growth in energetic and supportive environments.
Yet some communities do everything they can to keep growth slow or at a minimum.  Jackson Hole, Wyoming; Taos, New Mexico; Telluride and Aspen Colorado will not see the “urbanization effect” because there is little new business construction or expansion areas, as well as a conscious effort by those communities to maintain the surroundings, and keep things at their same laid-back level and pace.  Ironic considering that a few of these places have economies steeply based in tourism and hospitality.
Certainly one’s chances of finding employment are greater within the cities and urban centers than in smaller towns simply because there are more opportunities in the more densely populated areas.  However, the kind of work that interests you may no longer be dependent on a specific geographic location.  Certainly the latest telecommuting options and remote access to networks facilitate one’s ability to locate where the work is.  It’s possible that your next job might be waiting for you in some “out-of-the-way” town.
Thankfully there are many work-life balance benefits to living in the smaller urban areas.  And in many of them the work opportunities are keeping pace with the growth of those communities.  Big city?  Urban Center?  Small Town?  I’m sure you’ll make the choice that is right for you!
For more tips on job search, career development and choosing the location that is right for you, please search this blog and visit:  hanklondon.com

By Hank

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