I've long believed the most underrated tip for a successful career is to move where the jobs are.

If a growing metropolitan area reflects a healthy job climate, knowing which will boom over the next 15 years and which will bust could be crucial to your job success. Bizjournals has just released its population projections for 250 metro areas for 2025.

Looking for the hot spots? Go west, young jobseeker, or south. The most dynamic metro areas are all in those quadrants.

Leading the pack is Raleigh, N.C., expected to almost double in population. Other areas in the top 10 include Provo, Utah; three areas in Florida, Ft. Myers, Ocala, and Port St. Lucie; Austin, Texas; Phoenix, Ariz.; Charlotte, S.C. N.C.; Las Vegas, Nev.; and Myrtle Beach, SC. (If you believe these projections, then the rock-bottom real estate prices in Phoenix and Las Vegas might represent a once-in-lifetime opportunity for investment.)

Metro areas that were tied to dying industries and, as a result, are now shrinking, offer severely limited opportunity. The 10 metro areas projected to suffer the greatest decline in population between now and 2025:

  • Gulfport, Miss.
  • New Orleans, La.
  • Youngstown, Ohio
  • Columbus, Ga.
  • Buffalo, N.Y.
  • Cleveland, Ohio
  • Beaumont, Texas
  • Charleston, W.Va.
  • Parkersburg, W. Va.
  • Binghamton, N.Y.

Four states in particular have multiple metro areas at the bottom end of the list; Ohio, New York, Michigan and West Virginia.

Willie Sutton, when asked why he robbed banks, famously replied, "Because that's where the money is." If you're about to launch your career, you might want to consider his approach.


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