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Top 10 Cities for Young Professionals: Where Job Opportunities and Income Meet

Embarking on a career journey? Houston, Philadelphia, and Austin might just be the ideal launchpads for college graduates or young job seekers. Especially for those who are concerned about the cost of living and their income amidst the current economic scenario.

A recent analysis by Gusto, an HR and payroll platform serving small to mid-sized businesses, sheds light on which cities offer promising prospects for new job seekers.

“New grads are stepping into the labor market during a time of significant economic transition,” observes Luke Pardue, an economist at Gusto. While job openings are plentiful and unemployment rates are low, companies are also showing signs of reining in their hiring, thanks to looming economic uncertainties.

Pardue suggests that today’s young professionals might need to consider industries or locations that might not have been their first choice post-graduation.

Gusto’s study focused on the 50 largest metropolitan areas, analyzing full-time hiring rates for young workers, both graduates, and non-graduates. The top ten locations with the highest proportion of new hires landing full-time jobs were sorted by average salaries adjusted for cost-of-living indexes, revealing where job seekers can extract maximum value.

Houston took the top spot, while New York City landed at number ten. Gusto’s report states that “when accounting for the cost of living, new graduates in Houston earn an average of $65,648, in contrast to just over $31,000 in New York City.” These figures are based on data from Gusto’s platform and adjusted using cost-of-living indexes from C2ER.

Interestingly, San Jose, California, came out on top as the city with the highest average full-time hiring rate for 20-24-year-olds among major metros from early 2022 to early 2023. Houston’s rate stands at 8.5%, compared to 9.6% in San Jose.

Here’s the complete rundown of the top ten cities where young professionals can maximize their income potential, according to Gusto’s analysis.

New York City, New York – Salary (Cost of living adjusted): $31,707 | Average hiring rate: 8.0%

Boston, Massachusetts – Salary (Cost of living adjusted): $50,182 | Average hiring rate: 7.9%

Miami, Florida – Salary (Cost of living adjusted): $54,310 | Average hiring rate: 7.9%

Nashville, Tennessee – Salary (Cost of living adjusted): $57,525 | Average hiring rate: 8.1%

San Jose, California – Salary (Cost of living adjusted): $57,580 | Average hiring rate: 9.6%

Dallas, Texas – Salary (Cost of living adjusted): $59,082 | Average hiring rate: 8.2%

Atlanta, Georgia – Salary (Cost of living adjusted): $60,555 | Average hiring rate: 7.8%

Austin, Texas – Salary (Cost of living adjusted): $63,900 | Average hiring rate: 7.8%

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – Salary (Cost of living adjusted): $64,160 | Average hiring rate: 7.9%

Houston, Texas – Salary (Cost of living adjusted): $65,648 | Average hiring rate: 8.5%

The labor market landscape may be shifting, but with this guide, young professionals can make informed decisions about where to start their career journey.

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