The unemployment rate is a lot lower for those with college degrees, 7.7% v. those with just a high school diploma, 17.9%, according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be difficult for a recent graduate to find work in their field of study. Even if you utilized your college time and opted for a work study, many cities, in general, will offer greater opportunities to put that degree to work.
If you are planning on staying around the area of your university, check out employment fairs can be the way to go, But, if four+ years leaves you craving a change of scenery, do your homework before you embark to a strange city. See if they have a market for your particular skills. For example, if you are a marine biologist, your chances of working in your field drop exponentially in Kansas or Wyoming.
The following list has been adapted from the list compiled from monstercollege.com and compares the top ten cities in livability and income range.
#10- Honolulu, HI
While the idea of sand and surf appeal to just about everyone, this island paradise is home to more than just beaches and volcanoes. This city has a huge focus on government, trade, the transportation industry, leisure and hospitality and over the past several years agricultural and aquaculture developments have been on the rise. The unemployment rate is the second lowest in the country.
The drawback to this paradise is that it boasts one of the highest cost of living ratios in the country. The average salary of $41,250.
#9- Denver, CO
Denver is one of the major energy research centers in the country with an emphasis in aerospace, manufacturing, air transportation, and telecommunications. The downtown area is known as the “Wall Street of the Rockies,” is home to both national and international banks.
With the light rail running all over town commuting via public transportation is easier than many places.
#8- Portland, OR
Currently, more than 1,200 tech companies operate within the Portland area. Intel is the largest employer in the region; Portland has also seen consistent growth in the education and health care fields.
There has been a decline in natural resources, mining, and construction centers, but has maintained it’ employment growth rate overall in other fields.
#7- Rochester, NY
Home to several Fortune 1000 companies including Kodak and the largest wine manufacturer in the world, Constellation Brands; Rochester also boasts a low average commute time and a really low cost of living to income ratio.
It is a smaller city, with a population around 220,000 which may or may not appeal to some people.
#6- Seattle, WA
There are many prominent corporations that were conceived in this very place, Amazon, Starbucks, and Nordstrom, just to name a few. Once associated with grunge music, now this city embraces alternative energy development and software engineering.
This is another city with a high cost of living ratio, but it counter’s that by providing opportunities in education and culture.
Home to one of the largest high-tech R&D centers in the entire world, Raleigh-Cary has high expected job growth in technology, tourism, and academia. There are also several manufacturing firms and a relatively low cost of living ratio. It also ranked 38th in a list of 372 highest growth cities.
The unemployment rate for Oklahoma City has remained relatively low even through the recession. This capital city has shown growth in the fields of natural resources, mining, wholesale, government and energy. This city also has a very low commute time on average. In 2008, Forbes magazine named Oklahoma City as the most recession-proof city in America.
Salt Lake City has great expectations for job growth, both current and future, especially in the fields of recreation tourism and in the information sector. Besides being the HQ for the Mormon Church, Salt Lake City is the nation’s largest banking center. It has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country and a minimal commute time.
With just over 1,200,000 people, this city has seen a very low change in unemployment rate. There has been consistent growth in education, healthcare, manufacturing, service sectors and government. Tourism also continues to thrive here.
#1 Austin, TX
The two largest employers in Austin, The University of Texas and the state government are in the process of adding a few thousand jobs. There has also been a recent boom in high-tech entrepreneurialism.
Some other cities to keep in mind:
San Diego, CA- Despite a growth in unemployment, mean income is over $45,000.
Philadelphia, PA- A center for biomedical and pharmaceutical companies.
Cincinnati, OH- Home to ten Fortune 100 companies.
Hartford, CT- The world’s largest Insurance Company HQ.
St. Louis, MO- Home to some of the nation’s largest privately held corporations, this city also boasts a high quality of life.
Boston, MA- Boston has 21 four year colleges, plus a high average income.
Nashville, TN- A leader in insurance, health care, music and entertainment, publishing and biotechnology.