Only 17 US cities are left in the running for Amazon’s HQ2 — here are the ones in most dire need of Amazon’s 50,000 jobs

  • Amazon is expanding from Seattle and has narrowed the list of places it is considering for its second headquarters to 20 places.
  • Amazon’s HQ2 is likely to have a great economic impact on the chosen city, potentially lowering unemployment and increasing average wages.
  • Business Insider compiled economic data for the 17 American cities on the Amazon HQ2 shortlist.

Amazon revealed the 20 locations on the shortlist for the tech giant’s second headquarters – known as HQ2 – on Thursday.

The first headquarters has served as a huge driver of Seattle’s economic growth since it set up shop there, and it’s likely that the city chosen for Amazon HQ2 will face the same fate.

Of the 20 locations still under consideration, 17 are American cities. One non-American city – Toronto, Canada – remains in the running. Two other areas – Montgomery County, Maryland and Northern Virginia – are broad areas instead of cities. Both of those locations are within proximity of Washington, DC, which is also a finalist.

The winning city is promised a $US5 billion investment and as many as 50,000 high-paying jobs for well-educated employees.

With a massive number of jobs to fill, selecting a city with high unemployment and underemployment rates may indicate that workers will be willing and able to work at HQ2.

We took a look at key economic indicators for the 17 American cities on the HQ2 shortlist, including unemployment and underemployment rates, median salary, percentage of college-educated adults, and recent GDP growth.

Unemployment data is as of November 2017 from the Bureau of Labour Statistics, which measures the percentage of people in the workforce within a metropolitan area without a job. WalletHub provided the data on underemployment rates and median annual income. The percentage of college educated people in each city is from the 2010 Census. And the Bureau of Economic Analysis measured each city’s GDP growth for 2016.

To see how much each of the 17 US cities could benefit from 50,000 new jobs, we ordered them from lowest to highest unemployment rate.

Nashville, Tennessee


Unemployment rate: 2.6%

Underemployment rate: 1.8%

Median salary: $US52,242

College educated: 29.7%

GDP growth: 3.4%

Austin, Texas

Unemployment rate: 2.7%

Underemployment rate: 3.4%

Median salary: $US63,019

College educated: 39.4%

GDP growth: 4.9%

Denver, Colorado


Unemployment rate: 2.8%

Underemployment rate: 8.5%

Median salary: $US50,958

College educated: 38.2%

GDP growth: 2.4%

Boston, Massachusetts


Unemployment rate: 3.0%

Underemployment rate: 9.7%

Median salary: $US39,511

College educated: 43.0%

GDP growth: 2.0%

Indianapolis, Indiana


Unemployment rate: 3.1%

Underemployment rate: 2.4%

Median salary: $US46,951

College educated: 30.7%

GDP growth: 2.1%

Dallas, Texas


Unemployment rate: 3.2%

Underemployment rate: 1.2%

Median salary: $US45,035

College educated: 31.1%

GDP growth: 3.0%

Columbus, Ohio


Unemployment rate: 3.5%

Underemployment rate: 2.5%

Median salary: $US52,396

College educated: 32.5%

GDP growth: 2.5%

Washington, DC


Unemployment rate: 3.6%

Underemployment rate: 11.0%

Median salary: $US42,884

College educated: 46.8%

GDP growth: 1.1%

Los Angeles, California


Unemployment rate: 3.8%

Underemployment rate: 1.0%

Median salary: $US36,218

College educated: 31.0%

GDP growth: 2.1%

Raleigh, North Carolina


Unemployment rate: 3.9%

Underemployment rate: 4.7%

Median salary: $US62,120

College educated: 41.0%

GDP growth: 5.3%

Miami, Florida


Unemployment rate: 4.1%

Underemployment rate: -1.0%

Median salary: $US28,506

College educated: 28.1%

GDP growth: 2.6%

Atlanta, Georgia


Unemployment rate: 4.2%

Underemployment rate: 1.4%

Median salary: $US50,049

College educated: 34.1%

GDP growth: 3.7%

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania


Unemployment rate: 4.3%

Underemployment rate: 1.5%

Median salary: $US45,160

College educated: 29.1%

GDP growth: 0.1%

New York, New York


Unemployment rate: 4.3%

Underemployment rate: 6.0%

Median salary: $US27,472

College educated: 36.0%

GDP growth: 0.9%

Newark, New Jersey


Unemployment rate: 4.3%

Underemployment rate: 6.0%

Median salary: $US27,070

College educated: 36.0%

GDP growth: 0.9%

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania


Unemployment rate: 4.4%

Underemployment rate: 3.2%

Median salary: $US33,533

College educated: 33.1%

GDP growth: 1.6%

Chicago, Illinois


Unemployment rate: 4.7%

Underemployment rate: 5.6%

Median salary: $US42,560

College educated: 34.0%

GDP growth: 0.9%