Advice for Jobseekers: Head South

Advice for Jobseekers: Head South

In this still-sour economy, the best place for a recent college graduate to go for a job is wherever he can find one. Still, some cities are more promising than others. You can increase your odds of finding a job by heading somewhere that offers a slew of opportunities that pay well. It helps if you can afford the city and will be happy living in it. To that end, we gathered information from AfterCollege, a website that connects recent college graduates with employers, on employers in 30 U.S. cities with job openings for new college grads. We also collected data on each city's average salary, unemployment rate, and cost of living.

What follows is a tour of the cities that, despite the economic crisis, still have strong job opportunities, decent pay, and living costs that won’t blow your budget. Houston tops the list, thanks to its low cost of living and unemployment rate. Only New York and Washington, D.C., had more employers listing job opportunities. After Houston, Washington, Dallas, Atlanta, and Austin, Tex., round out the top five.

Methodology: Starting with the cities with the largest numbers of employers posting entry-level positions on the AfterCollege site, Bloomberg Businessweek compiled the most recent data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics on each city's average annual pay and unemployment. From the Council for Community & Economic Research (C2ER), we obtained data on the cost of living in each city, which we used to adjust each city's pay figure. The jobs data and adjusted average annual salary each contributed 40 percent of the final ranking, while unemployment contributed 20 percent. Some cities that appeared in last year's ranking lacked a sufficient number of job-posting employers and so are absent from this one. Those cities include Chicago, Indianapolis, and Memphis.