The best U.S. cities for first jobs

December 20, 2017

Although the U.S. economy added 228,000 jobs in November, many Millennials still are struggling to get their first job. WalletHub recently completed a poll that suggests that maybe they are looking in the wrong places—literally.

In a comparison of 150 cities nationwide, Salt Lake City, Utah, came out on top and Hialeah, Florida, bottomed out.

According to a report by Cities Journal, the financial services website used a number of factors to make its determinations, from federal government sources such as the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S. Census Bureau, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development; to references such as professional networking site Indeed and health and wellness platform Sharecare, and a number of other organizations.

In addition, WalletHub looked at two factors:

  • Professional opportunities, including availability of entry-level jobs, median starting salary, median income growth rate, annual job growth rate, workforce diversity, and economy mobility; and
  • Quality of life, including median annual income, percentage of the population aged 25-34, percentage of population with a B.A. degree minimum, projected population growth, and house affordability; along with the three WalletHub rankings, recreation, families, and singles.

Tops among places to find a professional job were: (1) Salt Lake City, (2) Denver, (3) Austin, (4) Sioux Falls (South Dakota), and (5) Minneapolis.

Raleigh, North Carolina; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma;, and three Texas cities —Amarillo, Houston and Corpus Christi— also made it to the top 10. (The only city among these that wasn’t in the top 10 in the professional opportunity of life ranking).

At the very bottom of the list were Detroit, Michigan; Fresno, California; Moreno Valley, California; Akron, Ohio, and Hialeah, Florida.

Interestingly enough, New York City—which often is considered the place where people go to make their careers— ranked 127th, below places like Port St. Lucie, Florida,  and Chula Vista, California

Las Vegas, Milwaukee, Memphis, Chicago and Los Angeles represented just a few of the major cities that did not break the top 100.

According to WalletHub, these cities are where you go once you have already made it—not when you are starting your career.

The research unearthed some additional insights, such as the fact that the best cities have 39 times more entry-jobs than the worst ones in this category.

Where is there the most affordable housing? Go to Plano, Texas; Fort Wayne, Indiana; Des Moines, Iowa; Overland Park, Kansas; or Buffalo, New York.

For the highest population of Millennials, seek out Boston, Washington, DC, San Francisco, Jersey City (New Jersey), or Seattle.

There also were huge differences between the highest and the lowest starting salaries (adjusted for cost of living)—with Houston, Durham, and San Jose paying three times more than Honolulu, New York or Santa Rosa.

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