A new study ranks the best and worst cities to work for a small business

Based on 11 criteria, Charlotte, N.C., tops the list, Youngstown, Ohio, brings up the rear.

May 07, 2015 |
A new study ranks the best and worst cities to work for a small business

Charlotte, N.C., topped the list for the best city to work for a small business. Image: Pixabay/tpsdave

The Greater Charlotte, N.C., area is the best city to work for a small business, according to a new survey by Wallet Hub, the three-year-old website that provides tools and information to consumers and small business owners to help them make financial decisions.

Wallet Hub analyzed the small-business environment in the 100 most populated metros in the U.S., and used 11 metrics to assess which cities are friendliest to workers and job seekers.

The study concluded that Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia, N.C., ranked first as the country’s best small business environment, based on the number of businesses with fewer than 250 employees, the growth of those business, net job growth, industry variety, the percentage of small businesses that provide health insurance to employees, and employee earnings.

Wallet Hub also ranked Greater Charlotte 18th for its economic environment, which includes its median annual income, unemployment rate, average hours worked, population growth, and “well-being index.”

Combining the two scores, Wallet Hub ranked Charlotte first overall as the best city to work for a small business. Charlotte is followed by Raleigh, N.C., (with a small-business environment rank of 10th, and economic environment rank of 3rd). Oklahoma City (2nd and 21st), Austin-Round Rock, Texas (14th and 4th), and Omaha-Council Bluffs, Neb. (4th and 12th).

The worst metros to be working for a small business, based on Wallet Hub’s criteria, are Youngstown-Warren-Boardman, Ohio/Pa. (100th, 95th), Stockton-Lodi, Calif. (99th, 85th), Toledo, Ohio (87th, 100th) Scranton-Wilkes Barre-Hazelton, Pa. (84th, 99th), and Fresno, Calif. (98th, 72th).

Wallet Hub also ranked metros by different subcategories. For example, three of the top five metros with the highest net small-business job growth are in Florida: Cape Coral-Fort Myers, Lakeland-Winter Haven, and North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton. Conversely three of the five metros with the lowest small-business job growth are in California: Bakersfield, Stockton-Lodi, and Fresno.

Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, Fla., ranks highest for the number of small business per 1,000 inhabitants. That ratio in Miami is two times higher than in Bakerfield, which ranks lowest in this subcategory.

Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, Texas, has the highest earnings for small business employees (adjusted for cost of living), whereas Honolulu has the lowest earnings.

Wallet Hub also finds that the unemployment rate in Fresno is four times higher than in Provo, Utah. Cape Coral is expected to have the highest increase (103.4%) in population through 2042, while Youngstown is projected to have the highest decrease over the period (11.1%)

Wallet Hub offers some tips for employees looking to land a small-business job. It recommends that job seekers tailor their search, “but avoiding limiting yourself” to a certain job classification or industry. It also recommends that job seekers look beyond their immediate compensation and consider the longer-range growth prospects that an employer can offer. And job candidates need to be ready to defend any information about themselves that might be floating around on social media.

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