The Best Job Markets for 2017 College Grads

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To find the top job markets for new college grads entering the labor market in 2017, we queried our database of over 7 million active jobs across the United States to look at the following:

  • The overall availability of entry-level college jobs in cities across the U.S.
  • The ratio of open entry-level college jobs to the number of applicants for those jobs in each city

We then controlled for any city whose unemployment rate was above the national average of 4.7%. The resulting list includes cities in every region of the country, each of whom has a strong economy, low unemployment, and a large number of entry level jobs for college grads.

Key Findings

  • The Western U.S. has the most cities on the list, with 8. The South is next with 7, followed by the Midwest with 3, and the Northeast with 2.
    • All of the Midwest cities on the list are in the top 5
  • The top industry in 11 of the cities on the list is Technology
    • The top tech job is Project Manager
  • The Tech industry was followed by Business (4 cities), Finance & Insurance (3 cities), and Health Care (2 cities) in descending order of top industries in each city
  • Strong job markets can create overheated rental markets, but not always: the median rent* in three of the top cities is less than $1000 (*via Trulia)

New College Grad Sentiment Survey

To get a sense of how new college grads view the job market, and to understand how they plan enter the labor market, we surveyed over 2,000 ZipRecruiter job seekers:

  • 78.9% of new grads are optimistic they will find a job, and 55% overall are very optimistic.
  • Growth potential is the most important consideration for new grads when looking for a job, with 54.2% ranking number one.
    • Second is pay, at 26.7%, and third is benefits, at 11.6%
  • When it comes to choosing a place to put down roots, 38.8% of new grads said they were willing to move anywhere for a new job.
    • 31.4% would not move farther than 25 miles for a new job.
    • 9.4% preferred to stay right where they are, and would not move at all.

The Best Job Markets for New College Grads

1. Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI

Top industry: Technology

Top job: Software Engineer

Unemployment rate: 4.2%

Median rent: $1600

2. Kansas City, MO-KS

Top industry: Business

Top job: Account Manager

Unemployment rate: 4.4%

Median rent: $850

3. Portland-Vancouver-Beaverton, OR-WA

Top industry: Technology

Top job: Project Manager

Unemployment rate: 3.9%

Median rent: $1950

4. Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA

Top industry: Health Care

Top job: Registered Nurse

Unemployment rate: 3.9%

Median rent: $2650

5. Indianapolis-Carmel, IN

Top industry: Technology

Top job: Project Manager

Unemployment rate: 4.2%

Median rent: $995

6. Salt Lake City, UT

Top industry: Technology

Top job: Project Manager

Unemployment rate: 3.2%

Median rent: $1495

7. Boston-Cambridge-Quincy, MA-NH

Top industry: Business

Top job: Administrative Assistant

Unemployment rate: 3.7%

Median rent: $2637

8. San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont, CA

Top industry: Technology

Top job: Project Manager

Unemployment rate: 3.5%

Median rent: $4325

9. Nashville-Davidson-Murfreesboro-Franklin, TN

Top industry: Finance and Insurance

Top job: Financial Analyst

Unemployment rate: 3.7%

Median rent: $1695

10. Raleigh-Cary, NC

Top industry: Health Care

Top job: Registered Nurse

Unemployment rate: 4.3%

Median rent: $1387

11. San Antonio, TX

Top industry: Technology

Top job: Project Manager

Unemployment rate: 4.2%

Median rent: $1350

12. San Diego-Carlsbad-San Marcos, CA

Top industry: Technology

Top job: Software Engineer

Unemployment rate: 4.2%

Median rent: $2750

13. Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ

Top industry: Finance and Insurance

To job: Staff Accountant

Unemployment rate: 4.4%

Median rent: $1300

14. Denver-Aurora, CO

Top industry: Business

Top job: Account Manager

Unemployment rate: 3.2%

Median rent: $2000

15. Austin-Round Rock, TX

Top industry: Technology

Top job: Project Manager

Unemployment rate: 3.7%

Median rent: $1895

16. Oklahoma City, OK

Top industry: Business

Top job: Jr. Account Manager

Unemployment rate: 4.3%

Median rent: $995

17. Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV

Top industry: Technology

Top job: Software Engineer

Unemployment rate: 3.9%

Median rent: $3100

18. Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX

Top industry: Finance and Insurance

Top job: Staff Accountant

Unemployment rate: 4.3%

Median rent: $1695

19. Orlando-Kissimmee, FL

Top industry: Technology

Top job: Project Manager

Unemployment rate: 4.3%

Median rent: $1500

20. San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA

Top industry: Technology

Top job: Project Manager

Unemployment rate: 3.6%

Median rent: $3295

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