Report Shows the Best Cities for Young Professionals to Start a Career

While the struggles endured in recent years by America’s youth pale in comparison to those suffered by young people in Spain and Greece – where unemployment rates in excess of 50 percent have spawned great social unrest – finding a job, let alone laying the foundation for a long and prosperous career, is far from simple in the current economic climate.

With many employers adopting a wait-and-see approach to both the economic recovery and Obamacare and many young people refusing to adjust expectations in the face of stiff competition, the effective unemployment rate for Americans ages 18 - 29 is currently 15.5 percent.

There is nevertheless reason for optimism among the graduating class of 2014 as well as the scores of young people who have become so disillusioned with the job market that they have given up their search for employment. Not only do more employers plan to hire recent college grads this year, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, but hiring in general is also on the rise.

Increased hiring obviously doesn’t guarantee employment, though. Young people still must learn how to maximize their employability. In addition to customizing cover letters and making social media accounts safe for work, that could very well entail finding a new place to live and work.

While Americans in their twenties are now 40 percent less likely to move than they were 30 years ago, according to U.S. Census data, employment opportunities do vary significantly based on simple geography. So, in order to help recent college graduates find the best cradles for their burgeoning careers, financial website WalletHub analyzed the 150 largest cities in the U.S. to determine the relative strength of their job markets, the attractiveness of their social scenes, and various other factors that are important to new job market entrants.


Best Cities to Start a Career


Worst Cities to Start a Career



Washington, DC



Riverside, CA



Denver, CO



Cleveland, OH



Irving, TX



Fayetteville, NC



Seattle, WA



Columbus, GA



Minneapolis, MN



Detroit, MI



San Francisco, CA



Akron, OH



Austin, TX



San Bernardino, CA



Dallas, TX



Stockton, CA



Charlotte, NC



Port St. Lucie, FL



Houston, TX



Modesto, CA

The report ranked cities based on more than a dozen factors, including average annual income, cost of living, art and recreation options, average age of population, educational attainment, cost of housing and professional opportunities.

The full report showing the top 150 cities for young professionals can be viewed on WalletHub's website.