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2018 Best Jobs: Florida doesn't have many (Tampa Bay has fewer)

Florida may have an enviable unemployment rate these days. But when it comes to high-paying jobs, the Sunshine State's economy inspires less jealousy.

In the U.S. News & World Report's rankings for "Best Jobs of 2018" released Wednesday, Florida's metropolitan areas failed to crack the top 50 hubs for jobs that offer good salaries, future opportunities and work-life balance.

The report ranked 206 regions — and the Tampa Bay area clocked in at No. 117.

The metro areas were ordered based on their concentration of "best" jobs. Naples was the highest-ranking Florida region at No. 55, a far cry from the California-dominated top five. San Francisco claimed the No. 1 spot.

"Health care jobs are prominent on our list year after year and are predicted to continue growing rapidly within the job market by 2026," said U.S. News & World Report careers reporter Rebecca Koenig in a prepared statement.

Related coverage: Florida jobs recover from Irma, unemployment rate drops


According to the list, the No. 1 best occupation was software developer. Dentists claimed the No. 2 spot, followed by physician assistants, nurse practitioners and orthodontists.

The "best" designation is based on seven factors: an occupation's median salary, employment rate, 10-year growth volume, growth percentage over a decade, future job prospects, work-life balance and stress level.

Though Florida may lag behind other states, its metro areas stood out as hubs for these occupations: Obstetrician and gynecologists in Tampa, veterinarians in Naples, architects in West Palm Beach and physicians in Cape Coral.

Best jobs overall

1. Software developer

2. Dentist

3. Physician assistant

4. Nurse practitioner

5. Orthodontist

Best-paying regions

1. San Francisco

2. San Jose, Calif.

3. San Rafael, Calif.

4. New York City

5. Anchorage, Ak.

Best-paying Florida regions

55. Naples

77. West Palm Beach

85. Cape Coral

97. Jacksonville

101. Miami

116. Tallahassee

117. Tampa

178. Orlando

Best-paying jobs

1. Anesthesiologist

2. Surgeon

3. Obstetrician and gynecologist

4. Oral and maxillofacial surgeon

5. Orthodontist

Best health care jobs

1. Dentist

2. Physician assistant

3. Nurse practitioner

4. Orthodontist

5. Pediatrician

Best business jobs

1. Statistician

2. Actuary

3. Mathematician

4. Cost estimator

5. Business operations manager

Contact Malena Carollo at or (727) 892-2249. Follow @malenacarollo.