Tuscaloosa is among the very best places in the country for job seekers, according to a new report from a financial analysis website.

The site, SmartAsset, began ranking metropolitan areas in the U.S. on career opportunities in 2020, when the coronavirus pandemic spiked the national unemployment rate into the double digits.

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The Druid City did not make the site's Top 25 list in 2020 or 2021 but ratcheted up the ranks in this year's rankings, landing the No. 4 spot in the nation.

Our neighbors to the north in Huntsville, Alabama also have plenty to be proud of after earning second place in 2020, fifth last year and second again in 2022.

Data journalist Anja Solum broke down the benefits Tuscaloosa has to offer in her article outlining the new report from SmartAsset, which was released Wednesday.

"Tuscaloosa, Alabama ranks in the top fifth of metro areas for its May 2022 unemployment rate (2.5%) and one-year change in total employment (4.10%)," she wrote. "Additionally, Tuscaloosa has the 27th-lowest annual housing costs ($10,152). For professional guidance, workers have access to roughly three career counselors for every 1,000 workers (ranking 24th-highest)."

That final observation about the prevalence of career advisors in the area is a testament to the success of West AlabamaWorks, our region's workforce development experts.

In a release highlighting the SmartAsset report, WAW pointed to the large number of hiring and outreach events they help host every month and their major programs including the annual World of Works career expo, the TransfrVR virtual reality career exploration program, their career connect system and the newly launched IGNITE portal to find jobs for students ages 14-18 in the area.

For more on workforce development efforts and job opportunities in the area, check out West AlabamaWorks! and stay connected to the Tuscaloosa Thread.

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