North Dakota has struck black gold, and Burleigh County is feeling the trickle-down effect. While it isn't one of the state's oil patch counties, the discovery of the gushing Bakken Shale to the west has it riding on a rush that's turned the area into Boomtown, USA. With an unemployment rate of 3.5% for 2011, Burleigh County boasts the lowest unemployment rate on our list.
A reputation for dependable workers draws businesses to the county, and easy access to transportation links goes over well with companies with goods to move. Burlington Northern Santa Fe's freight rail network serves the area, and Interstate 94, a major east-west artery, runs through the county.
Look for opportunities in Bismarck, which serves as a retail and health care hub. Aetna is a key employer, and two major hospitals, Medcenter One Health Systems and St. Alexius Medical Center, are located here.
These terrific small cities offer strong job opportunities, great schools, low crime, quality health care, and a true sense of community.