Best Metros for Recent College Grads
Rank Metro LQ for Jobs Estimated 2013 Job Openings Median Hourly Earnings
1 San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA 1.55 9,927 $47.27
2 Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV 1.36 39,259 $40.46
3 Boston-Cambridge-Quincy, MA-NH 1.34 29,156 $36.19
4 Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA 1.27 20,320 $36.73
5 San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont, CA 1.24 19,981 $40.69
6 Raleigh-Cary, NC 1.19 6,672 $30.42
7 Austin-Round Rock-San Marcos, TX 1.18 9,960 $31.87
8 Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford, CT 1.17 5,039 $32.45
9 Detroit-Warren-Livonia, MI 1.16 12,653 $30.81
9 Baltimore-Towson, MD 1.16 14,228 $32.15

The remainder of the top ten are more interesting. Rounding out the bunch are Hartford, Connecticut, as well as hard-hit Detroit, Michigan, and Baltimore, Maryland. It is especially encouraging to see Detroit among the nation's leaders in job openings for talented young people. This suggests that efforts from the local business community to remake its downtown may have real legs. Philadelphia, Richmond, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Cleveland, Columbus, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, St. Louis, and Kansas City all number among the top twenty best metros for recent college grads seeking work, using proportional levels of job availability as a metric.

Several places that rank highly in terms of the absolute number of job openings for college grads now fall much lower on the list. New York ranks 23rd (with an LQ of 1.06), while Los Angeles is 33rd (with an LQ of just 1.01). Chicago is 38th (with an LQ of .98). Sunbelt boomtowns fall lower on the list as well. Dallas and Houston tie for 28th, Atlanta is 31st and Phoenix ties L.A. for 33rd.

The metros where recent college grads are less likely to find work (based on the concentration of skilled jobs in growing fields) are largely centered in the West and the Sunbelt. At the very bottom of the list is Las Vegas (with an LQ of 0.68), with its large concentration of low-skilled service work. Following Vegas are Riverside, California (0.80); Memphis (0.87); New Orleans (0.89); San Antonio (0.91); and Orlando (0.91).

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