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.
Living wage: $36,317
Living wage: $30,472
Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Living wage: $38,189 in Raleigh, $35,838 in Durham-Chapel Hill
Charlotte, North Carolina
Living wage: $36,816
Cape Coral, Florida
Living wage: $34,902
Living wage: $42,245
Living wage: $35,318
San Diego, California
Living wage: $47,299
New York City
Living wage: $47,237
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."
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