Austin, Nashville, Denver and 7 Other Top Cities for Entry-Level Workers

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Millions of 2022 college graduates will be flocking to the workforce in the coming months, and they are entering a labor market with plenty of opportunities. There were 11.4 million jobs openings in April, according to the Labor Department. That's more than 5 million open roles than people looking.

When it comes to where these graduates want to live, their preferences likely vary. But some cities across the U.S. have seen a growing number of recent graduates elect to make them home. Many are "moving outside of the traditional New York City, Boston and San Francisco areas" in search of their first big step as an adult, says Andrew Seaman, senior news editor at LinkedIn.

LinkedIn parsed through the data to see where career starters, or those with fewer than four years of full-time work experience and three full-time jobs, were flocking to most in 2021 as compared to 2020 in its recent 2022 Guide to Kickstarting Your Career for graduates.

Here are their 10 fastest-growing metro areas for career starters, including their percent growth in entry-level professionals, populations according to the U.S. Census Bureau, and annual living wage for one adult with no dependents according to MIT's living wage calculator.

Austin, Texas

Growth: 21%

Population: 964,177

Living wage: $36,317

Chattanooga, Tennessee

Growth: 15.4%

Population: 182,113

Living wage: $30,472

Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Growth: 15%

Population: 469,124 (in Raleigh), 285,527 (in Durham), 61,128 (in Chapel Hill)

Living wage: $38,189 in Raleigh, $35,838 in Durham-Chapel Hill

Charlotte, North Carolina

Growth: 12.2%

Population: 879,709

Living wage: $36,816

Cape Coral, Florida

Growth: 11.9%

Population: 204,510

Living wage: $34,902

Denver, Colorado.
Brad McGinley Photography | Moment | Getty Images
Denver, Colorado.

Denver, Colorado

Growth: 11.8%

Population: 711,463

Living wage: $42,245

Nashville, Tennessee

Growth: 11.4%

Population: 678,851

Living wage: $35,318

San Diego, California

Growth: 11%

Population: 1,381,611

Living wage: $47,299

San Diego, California.
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San Diego, California.

New York City

Growth: 10.8%

Population: 8,467,513

Living wage: $47,237


Growth: 10.7%

Population: 654,776

Living wage: $46,925

Many of these cities have seen significant growth in job postings on sites like ZipRecruiter. "When employers post a job today, they plan to hire tomorrow," says Julia Pollak, labor economist at ZipRecruiter "So it shows business optimism." Charlotte, for example, has seen 22% year-over-year growth in job postings on the site.

Some cities have also seen significant wage growth for their residents. Both Denver and Charlotte have seen 7% year-over-year wage growth, says Pollak.

Many of these cities have been magnets for young people for these and other reasons ― like weather and low cost of living ― for years. "Raleigh comes up all the time," says Pollak, "and it's one of the best places to be."

Check out:

These are the 10 best cities in the U.S. for recent college graduates

The 10 best U.S. cities for finding a summer job

UK launches new visa for world's top graduates — is your college on the list?

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