To find the best place for new grads, we focused on the following factors:
- Median rent as a percentage of household income3 (25%): Before you have the buying power to get a house, you don’t want to work your life away to put a roof over your head. Compared to a state’s median income, higher rent means it’s harder for young professionals to buy the other things they need and save for the future.
- Percentage of jobs requiring a bachelor's degree or higher4,5 (25%): If you’ve already invested your time, effort, and money into a degree, it’s best to go where you’ll be paid for it. States with a higher percentage of jobs that require a bachelor’s degree or higher mean you’ll have more opportunities that will match your education.
- Employment growth projection from 2019–2021 in percentage points6 (20%): States emerging with new businesses will need new workers to fill roles. And even if your first gig in a new state doesn’t work out, chances are if it has a high growth projection, it will be easier to land a new job.
- Unemployment rate in 2018 (age 25–29)7 (20%): A high unemployment rate is not something you want to willingly step to, but it may be unavoidable for specific jobs or dream spots. Although other people being unemployed doesn’t necessarily mean you will be too, a better job market is more desirable. A lower unemployment rate in this age range means better employment for new graduates.
- Unemployment rate change from April to July 2020 in percentage points8 (10%): We grabbed information about how much the unemployment changed in each state following the pandemic’s outbreak and the subsequent shutdowns and employment comebacks. A lower value shows a decline in unemployment during this period.
We normalized each measurement on a 0–1 scale with 1 corresponding to the measurement that would most positively affect the final score. These adjusted measurements were then added together with the weights mentioned above to get a score of 100.
After considering these factors, it should make it easier to narrow down where you want to live and find work.
Where you live affects the direction of your career and life. There’s a lot to juggle between working, making rent, and finding stability at a job during a pandemic, but some states make it easier than others. We wish you luck in navigating your fresh start!