Another Top-10 List — Best Cities to Start a Career

The first job after college is so important in launching a career and positioning a person for their lifelong earnings.   As shown in the past, it’s just not the level of pay but also associated living costs, growth potential (in responsibility and remuneration) and quality of life that need consideration.  As usual, I invoke the TINSTAANREM axiom — There Is No Such Thing As A National Real Estate Market.  Nor is there such a thing as universal opportunities to start a lifelong career for all locations.

Where should college and trades graduates look for the optimum staring position?  To help answer this, focused on these five metrics:

  • Job Growth – as measured by declines in the unemployment rate from Q1 2014 to Q1 2017 using U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data
  • Business Growth – number of new businesses vs the number of businesses that closed in 2014 using U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data
  • High Salaries – median salaries of the top 25 percent of earners across all occupations using U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data
  • Happiness Index –’s analysis of Twitter data
  • Affordability – only included were metros with median prices of $400,000 or less then created their own methodology and came up with the following top-10 city ranks.  In addition to some of the data reported by also included are the job growth rates for the latest 12-months for each of these respective markets.  It is impressive that all but one, Madison, Wisconsin, had job growth rates greater than the U.S. average of 1.50 percent.  Six markets had more than double the U.S. job growth rate, and Ft Collins, Colorado growth factor was more than four times.  These are impressive economies indeed.  Three states have two cities each making up a total 60 percent of the top-10.  That says a lot about how some states, due to policies, infrastructure and people, better foster economic activity.

8-12-17 table

To read the entire article click

To learn more about the Happiness Index based on click    It’s an interesting approach to consider what typically is considered a highly-subjective metric.

To me jobs are everything.  Period.  Nine of the ten are performing extremely well when it comes to job growth.  That’s my definition of happiness.

It’s also interesting that, once again, many of these top markets are major college and university towns.  You will see that major college town will be repeated and echoed in future top-10 lists.


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