Jacksonville, North Carolina is America’s best place to get a job, according to Forbes magazine.
The 2010 list of “Best Cities For Jobs” was released this week. Last week Forbes also ranked Jacksonville #75 in its list of “Best Small Places For Business and Careers.”
According to Forbes’ Joel Kotkin, Jacksonville’s economy grew 1.4% last year and government jobs there grew 3.3%. Those numbers wouldn’t have been a big deal a few years ago, but they’re exceptional considering the negative growth in many places across the country. Experts say that metro areas focused on one industry aren’t recession-proof, but seem to be recession-resistant, especially college towns, government centers, military bases, and healthcare centers.
“The area includes the massive Marine Base at Camp Lejeune, a beehive of activity since the U.S. started waging two wars in Afghanistan and Iraq,” says Kotkin, also noting that the area’s employment base has grown 22.8% since 1998.
While Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune and Marine Corps Air Station New River are undoubtedly the area’s top employers, there are also a wide variety of civilian jobs in the Jacksonville area.
“There are big name contractors hiring local people and former Marines to work on base,” Ralph Leeds, director of the N.C. Employment Security Commission in Jacksonville, told the Jacksonville Daily News. “People don’t realize the big names are here because they don’t have an office with their name out front, but companies like Boeing, General Dynamic and Northrop Grumman keep a lot of people employed.”
“We have been recognized a lot lately for the strong housing market here and the low cost of living,” he said. “Of course, a lot of it has to do with the base, but Coastal Carolina Community College and Onslow Memorial Hospital are also big boosts to our local economy.”