Atlanta is best place to start a career right now, analysis finds

Of 182 cities in Wallethub’s report, Atlanta was No. 1 for professional opportunities

An estimated 96,030 college students will be graduating in Georgia this year — a state that gained 116,077 new residents in 2023 alone. That’s a lot of people looking for work. Luckily, the Peach State’s capital was just ranked as the best place to start a career in the entire country.

“Atlanta is the best place to start a career, boasting one of the highest growth rates in the median household income, at around 8.9% annually,” WalletHub reported. “The median annual household income in Atlanta is already pretty high as well, at nearly $79,000.”

“In addition, Atlanta has a lot of job opportunities at companies that are rated at least 4 out of 5 stars on Glassdoor, along with plentiful entry-level jobs, and people have a high rate of satisfaction with their jobs.”

WalletHub analyzed data on the 150 most populated U.S. cities, as well as each state’s next two most populated cities, across two dimensions: professional opportunities and quality of life. Those dimensions were broken down into 26 metrics, ranging from availability of entry-level jobs to projected population growth.

Orlando, Florida; Salt Lake City; Tampa, Florida and Pittsburgh rounded out the top five, in that order, while Yonkers, New York; Santa Clarita, California; Pembroke Pines, Florida; Bridgeport, Connecticut and New York City made up the bottom five.

Meanwhile, Georgia — a state offering an estimated 4,936,000 jobs — is enjoying its first drop in unemployment in more than a year (3.1%).

“With low unemployment and a competitive job market, Georgia’s workers and employers are thriving together,”
Georgia Labor Commissioner Bruce Thompson said. “Fostering innovation, investing in skills, diversifying our economy, and supporting businesses, especially sectors experiencing hiring and labor challenges, ensures Georgia will remain a hub of opportunity and prosperity for all.”

Georgia’s other two cities in the ranking, Augusta and Columbus, did not fare as well as Atlanta, finishing Nos. 128 and 130, respectively.

Those looking to land a new career in the Peach State should consider something in the health care or social assistance fields, which saw the most year-to-year job gains, with 24,000 new positions. The accommodation and food service industries added 12,000 new jobs. Professional, scientific and technical services increased their rolls by 11,200. And government garnered 11,000, with arts, entertainment and recreation bringing 8,400 to the state.

Entrepreneurs also have something to get excited about.

“For people who want to not only start a career but also start their own business, Atlanta ranks as the sixth-best large city,” WalletHub reported. “It also ranks fourth among the most fun cities and best cities for singles, allowing people who move for their career to also find happiness outside of work.”