10 Best Cities for Jobs in Financial Services: 2013

A mix of big and small metropolitan areas make the grade on Accounting Principals’ annual list

If you’re looking to make the next step in your career, or the lackluster economy has left you behind, it would be helpful to know the hottest cities for financial services jobs, wouldn’t it?

Fortunately, Accounting Principals, a job placement service for financial and accounting professionals, recently released its annual list of the 10 Best Cities in Financial Services. The cities in this year’s countdown, like those in 2012 and 2011, represent an eclectic mix of big and small, iconic and offbeat.

(Check out last year's rankings: 10 Best Cities for Jobs in Financial Services: 2012)

The industries offering opportunities for job seekers were a mix of the old, banking and energy, to the new, tech and aerospace.

The firm devised its list by looking at the economic environment in cities across the United States, combined with internal data from Accounting Principals branches, while taking into account the volume of job openings in the past six months.

Jodi Chavez of Accounting Principals“By doing this list annually, we are able to see that there are a variety of opportunities for job seekers outside of the typical ‘finance hubs,’ which is great news for finance and accounting professionals who don’t want to be limited to certain geographic regions,” said Jodi Chavez (left), senior vice president of Accounting Principals, in a statement. “As employers become more confident in hiring, we hope to see continued success across varying industries and states as the economy improves.”

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that in the depths of the recession the finance industry saw an unemployment rate of 7.7%. That rate had fallen to 4.7% in June.

Check out the 10 Best Cities for Jobs in Financial Services: 2013:

Phoenix, Arizona10. Phoenix

Overall Unemployment Rate: 6.9%

Like the mythical bird it was named for, the city is rising from the ashes. The ashes in question, of course, are the bursting of the housing bubble and financial crisis. Phoenix was particularly hard hit by the Great Recession, for a time earning it a spot near the bottom of U.S. cities in terms of economic activity.

Now the city that blooms in the Valley of the Sun has plenty of financial services jobs with a mix of startups and large and small employers.

The Sears Tower in Chicago. (Photo: AP)9. Chicago 

Overall Unemployment Rate: 9.6%

The City of Big Shoulders has plenty to offer during leisure hours. There’s boating and hanging out at the beach along the vaunted Lake Michigan shore. There’s shopping on the Miracle Mile. And there are sports of all kinds from college to pro.

And, now, all kinds of opportunity for jobs in financial services, everything from small businesses to Fortune 500 companies. In particular, the non-profit, healthcare, financial services and insurance sectors are places with employment opportunities.

Virginia's Capitol Building in Richmond.8. Richmond, Va.

Overall Unemployment Rate: 6.2%

Richmond has a long, proud history. It rebuilt itself after the Civil War attracting residents seeking mild winters (as long as they didn’t mind the hot, humid summers). There’s a vibrant arts community and for those Nascar fanatics, racing is a draw.

For financial services workers, the big draws are manufacturing, health care and banking.

A view of Seattle's Space Needle.7. Seattle

Overall Unemployment Rate: 5.8%

The Space Needle, a plethora of coffee and buckets of rain are the iconic popular images of Seattle. It was also home to a certain radio psychologist named Fraser. For those who seek their fun in the great outdoors, the area offers plenty of chance to scratch that itch.

Employment opportunities are ample in the tech and aerospace sectors. Those with public and private accounting experience are in particular demand.

The World of Coke in Atlanta (Photo: AP)6. Atlanta

Overall Unemployment Rate: 8.6%

Atlanta led the way for the New South, helping the region to offer to outsiders an image beyond the stereotypes that haunted it. In the last 50 years or so, the city raised its profile in the arts and sports. And you can always have a Coke, the city’s most famous company.

Atlanta boasts many large companies and opportunities in manufacturing, health care and banking.

5. New York City
and Long Island, N.Y.

Overall Unemployment Rate: 8%

New York and its surrounding suburbs on “the Island” don’t need much of a buildup. New York has it all. From Broadway shows to music to shopping and beaches, there’s something for everyone.

And “all” includes a lot of jobs in financial services. Like it’s fellow big city Chicago, New York offers businesses of all sizes, from the smallest to those in the Fortune 500. The non-profit, healthcare, financial services and insurance sectors are particularly fertile territory for job seekers.

Fountains at Irvine Spectrum Center4. Irvine, Calif.

Overall Unemployment Rate in Los Angeles area: 9.8%

This planned city, incorporated in 1971, in Orange County, was chosen by CNNMoney in 2012 as the sixth best place to live in the U.S., owing to its good schools, jobs and housing. It is home to several universities.

Like Phoenix to its east, finance jobs available in the city run the gamut in size and type of employers.

3. San Francisco

Overall Unemployment Rate: 6.9%

San Francisco is another city whose name speaks for itself. The laid-back lifestyle, mild weather and beautiful scenery make it one of the most desirable cities to live in the world (just try not to think about those pesky earthquakes.).

A major financial center, the city is another one where opportunity is available in business of every stripe and size.

The Houston skyline.2. Houston

Overall Unemployment Rate: 6.5%

The city might not use the Astrodome anymore, but it has plenty of attractions, including a top-notch football team (the Texans) and NBA franchise (the Rockets). There’s also a zoo, a symphony, opera and NASA’s Space Center.

The energy and real estate sectors are hot areas for employment in financial services.

The Cowboys Stadium in Dallas. (Photo: AP)1. Dallas

Overall Unemployment Rate: 6.4%

The Big D is No. 1 on the list this year. Would Texas have it any other way? From the gleeming modern stadium Jerry Jones built for his Cowboys to the iconic TV show named after the city, everything is big, bigger, biggest in the Lone Star State.

The best chance for financial services workers lies in technology and is home to several Fortune 500 companies.

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