The top metro areas for recent grads

Recent grads seeking great job opportunities should look beyond the coasts

Forbes has released its list of the top up-and-coming cities for recent college graduates, with most cities located in the Midwest. 

To identify the booming cities, job search site ZipRecruiter considered locations with:

  • A broad offering of leisure activities;
  • A high percentage of open jobs for candidates with a college degree;
  • High concentrations of residents ages 21 to 24;
  • Low competition; and
  • Low median rents.

The top metro areas were:

1. Cincinnati-Middletown, Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana

2. Austin-Round Rock, Texas

3. Madison, Wisconsin

4. Columbus, Ohio

5. Albany-Schenectady-Troy, New York

6. Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, Minnesota-Wisconsin

7. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

8. Kansas City, Missouri-Kansas

9. Salt Lake City, Utah

10. Grand Rapids-Wyoming, Michigan 

College graduates head to cities with 'cultural cool'

The winning metro area features entry-level job openings and reasonable rent. The Cincinnati-Middletown area of Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana's top three industries were retail, insurance, and customer service, with jobs such as event specialist and bank teller available for entry-level candidates. The area also scored high for affordability, with the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment priced at $698 per month. 

The second-ranked metro area earned high marks for a large population of young people and a strong entry-level job market. Almost nine percent of the overall population in the Austin-Round Rock area of Texas is made up of residents between the ages of 21 and 24. The top industries are education, health care, and hospitality, with jobs such as student coordinator and occupational therapist available for entry-level candidates. In addition, the area has a large live music and comedy scene.

The third-ranked city also has a large population of young adults. More than 11% of the population in Madison, Wisconsin is made up of residents between the ages of 21 and 24. The top three industries are insurance, customer service, and hospitality, with jobs such as field agent and customer service representative available for entry-level candidates. The average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Madison is $775.

While most cities are in the Midwest, cities such as Albany and Salt Lake City were given nods for low rents, high percentages of young adult residents, and opportunities in industries such as education and computer software (Dill, Forbes, 7/5). 


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