Being a recent college graduate is kind of like being a heavyweight boxer stumbling out of his corner in the 12th and final round; you don’t know where you are, you have no idea what you are going to do next or where you will be in one year, six months, or even the next ten minutes, and it feels like the best option is to just lean against the ropes and absorb as many of the blows that are sent your way as possible. As unemployment continues to throw a steady stream of hooks and jabs, the haymaker of student debt is never far away, ready to lay out yet another recent college grad face up on the canvas counting the birdies as they swirl by.
But if boxing is the sweet science, then there should be a scientific way to approach being a recent college graduate too, right? Or at least a way that is not based on the principle of “Close your eyes and hope for the best.” Trulia has partnered with LinkedIn to try and provide at least a little guidance to recent college graduates by rating 40 of America’s strongest job markets based on what they have to offer recent college grads.
As Trulia reports, the Graduate Opportunity Index ranks metros based on the criteria of their LinkedIn New Grad Job Score, Trulia’s New Grad Affordability Score, and the share of total population that is between the ages of 22 and 30 with a college degree.
Despite the West constantly grabbing all the headlines for having a strong, high-paying tech sector, its extremely high cost of living can be hard on a recent graduate. It's the East, not the West, which is home to the best markets for college graduates in 2016.
Pittsburgh, Pa., took the top spot on the list with a LinkedIn New Grad Job Score of 1.00, a Trulia New Grad Affordability Score of 91.8, and a 5.3 percent share of the population made up of new graduates. When combined, this gave Pittsburgh a Graduate Opportunity Index of 0.85.
Indianapolis, Ind., was second on the list with a Graduate Opportunity Index score of 0.80 and Kansas City, Mo., was third with a score of 0.75. Kansas City was actually the farthest west of any city in the top ten.
Meanwhile, Miami, Fla., was the worst market for recent college grads with a Graduate Opportunity Index score of 0.19. After Miami comes the West Coast, or, more accurately, California. Of the ten worst markets for recent graduates, California cities occupy each spot on the list with the exception of the aforementioned top spot taken by Miami and the fourth spot, held by Portland, Ore. Los Angeles, Orange County, San Jose, San Diego, and San Francisco are all on the list of the ten weakest markets for recent college grads.
For the full analysis and for the complete lists of the best and worst places for recent college graduates, click the link below.