Atlanta one of the best U.S. cities in which to start a career

It’s graduation season, when fresh-faced 20-somethings — and nontraditional graduates — are entering the search for a job.

“Unfortunately, new graduates aren’t entering the market at a great time, as the unemployment rate for people ages 20 through 24 was 10.5% in April 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” the financial website WalletHub wrote. “The good news is that employers plan to hire 7.2% more graduates from the Class of 2021 than they did from the Class of 2020.”

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Where graduates plan to begin their career can go a long way toward their success. To help new graduates start their search for a career, WalletHub compared 182 cities — including the 150 most populated U.S. cities, plus at least two of the most populated cities in each state — across two key dimensions: professional opportunities and quality of life. Those two dimensions were evaluated using 28 key metrics that ranged from the availability of entry-level jobs to monthly average starting salary to housing affordability to determine 2021′s Best & Worst Places to Start a Career.

If you plan to start your career in Atlanta, you’re making a good choice, according to WalletHub’s analysis.

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Atlanta finished No. 3 of the 182 cities in the ranking, with a score of 64.99 out of 100.

In addition to finishing No. 3 for professional opportunities and No. 19 for quality of life, Atlanta ranked:

  • 40th – projected population growth (2046 vs. 2016)
  • 22nd – monthly average starting salary (adjusted for cost of living)
  • 10th – entry-level jobs per 100,000 working-age population
  • 9th – annual job growth rate (adjusted for population growth)
  • 60th – unemployment rate
  • 15th – % of adults 25 and older with at least a bachelor’s degree
  • 92nd – average daily COVID-19 cases in the past week per capita
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Georgia’s two other cities in the analysis, Augusta and Columbus, finished 95 and 176, respectively.

Salt Lake City topped this year’s list, with Newark, New Jersey, finishing last.