We've seen, and run, plenty of stories about which cities are the best for starting and building a business. But how about the employees? What are the best cities in which to work for a small business?

WalletHub recently crunched those numbers, using a combination of factors meant to represent a metro area's environment for small businesses as well as its economic environment. Overall, the South and West seem to host more businesses that are hospitable to their employees, while cities in the Northeast generally don't appear in the rankings until much further down. At number 10, Boston was the highest-ranked city in the Northeast, well below Austin, Omaha, and Raleigh. San Francisco came in 23rd; San Jose was number 34.

The metro areas that ranked the best for their small-business environments were:

  1. Charlotte, North Carolina
  2. Oklahoma City
  3. Boston/Cambridge, Massachusetts
  4. Omaha
  5. Nashville

Small-business environment was determined by WalletHub to be a compilation of factors including the total number of small businesses (defined as companies with fewer than 250 employees) per 1,000 people; the recent growth in that number; small-business job growth; earnings for small-business employees; and the share of businesses that offer health insurance.

Those were then combined with the rankings for the best overall economic environment, in which it becomes clear that Utah is booming:

  1. Provo, Utah
  2. Ogden, Utah
  3. Raleigh, North Carolina
  4. Austin
  5. San Antonio

To get a bead on the overall economic environment, WalletHub looked at the median annual income (adjusted for the cost of living in that city); the unemployment rate; a well-being index; the average number of hours worked per week; and projected population growth.

Combining the small-business-specific factors with the more general ones, the top five cities for working in a small business are:

  1. Charlotte, North Carolina
  2. Raleigh, North Carolina
  3. Oklahoma City
  4. Austin
  5. Omaha

Work hard, spend hard

If you're wondering where small-business employees work the most, or get paid the most, here are the rankings for those two indicators. Ironically, Silicon Valley doesn't appear high up on either list:

Highest average work hours:

  1. Salt Lake City
  2. Baton Rouge, Louisiana
  3. Houston
  4. Dallas
  5. Augusta, Georgia

Highest earnings (adjusted for cost of living):

  1. Houston
  2. Bridgeport/Stamford, Connecticut
  3. Austin
  4. Memphis
  5. Dallas-Fort Worth
Published on: May 8, 2015