For the second year in a row, Austin, Texas has earned its place as the metro area containing one million people or more with the no. 1 job market in 2019, according to a ranked list created by the Wall Street Journal and Moody’s Analytics.

The list was compiled by analyzing the labor market in 381 metro areas where each metro was ranked based on unemployment rate, labor-force participation rate, job growth, labor-force growth and wage growth. Those metrics were then averaged in order to determine the best labor markets.

The Nashville, Tennessee, metro area came in second on the list while the Denver, Colorado metro are came in third. Seattle, Washington, earned the fourth place spot and the San Francisco, California and Salt Lake City, Utah metro areas tied for fifth place.

The top two metro areas, renowned for their music scenes, earned their rankings in large part due to low unemployment rates. In Austin’s case, it also experienced high wage growth in 2019, and Nashville benefited from high labor-force growth.

The two southern cities have become blossoming tech hubs lately. Apple began constructing a $1 billion corporate campus in Austin in 2019 that will hold up to 15,000 employees, and even now has 7,000 workers operating out of Austin. In the past year, Opcity, the real estate lead generation platform owned by Move Inc, also opened a second office housing 200 employees in downtown Austin.

Nashville, meanwhile, will be home to a new Amazon campus anticipated to complete construction in 2021. The operation will bring 5,000 jobs to the area, the largest jobs deal in Tennessee history, according to local Nashville NBC affiliate WSMV.

Although Austin held its place at the lead since last year’s rankings, Nashville made a significant jump from its previously held seventh place ranking. Denver also rose from ninth to third place while Seattle jumped from eighth to fourth and San Francisco leaped from 13th to fourth.

Among the group of smaller metropolitan areas evaluated, Boulder, Colorado, landed the no. 1 spot, followed by Midland, Texas (formerly no. 1); Odessa, Texas; Fayetteville, Arkansas; and Sioux Falls, South Dakota to round out the top five.

Email Lillian Dickerson

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