If you’re transitioning from college or switching careers, figuring out what you want to do and where you want to live while trying to land the perfect job can be challenging.
Some cities are better for entry-level positions than others, reflecting local demographics, population, adaptation to COVID-19, and industrial requirements.
Best Cities for Entry-Level Jobs
Entry-level jobs include everything from customer-service representatives and administrative assistants to business analysts. Many high-wage, technical industries offer entry-level positions.
The best cities for entry-level jobs have strong local economies, but you’ll need to consider factors like the cost of living and the rate of employment growth. The job market is still recovering in many jurisdictions; therefore, it’s important to examine data from local sources and the Bureau of Labor Statistics for insight into the rate of job growth and the health of the economy.
Las Vegas, Nevada
Las Vegas is known for its entertainment and hospitality industries. In 2020, these industries took a major hit as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic but began to rebound in the summer of 2021. As a result, the need for workers to fill entry-level positions has increased significantly.
Hotels, restaurants, casinos, bars, and cafés need staff. Between March and July 2021, the leisure and hospitality industries added 23,000 new jobs. If you’re interested in event planning, for example, Las Vegas’s reliance on tourism could benefit your career goals.
- Mean hourly wage: $24.02
- Population: 651,319
- Unemployment rate: 6.6%
New York City, New York
If you plan to relocate to New York City in search of entry-level positions or a fresh start, you need to be prepared for the high cost of living. Many workers commute to one of the five boroughs from New Jersey to avoid paying the high rent.
You can expect to pay $2,810/month for a median one-bedroom rental in the city, which eclipses rates in San Francisco.
NYC is home to financial services, manufacturing, real estate, healthcare, and tourism, among other industries. The largest gains in 2021 have been in the leisure and hospitality industry, followed by professional and business services.
- Mean hourly wage: $34.16
- Population: 8,336,817
- Unemployment rate: 9.0%
San Francisco, California
San Francisco has a highly diverse service economy, with an emphasis on financial services, tourism, and technology. Its diversification has attracted more venture capital for startups as part of its diversification. Between October 2020 and October 2021, San Francisco and San Mateo counties experienced job growth of 6.6% (69,600 jobs).
San Francisco is close to the top if you’re interested in breaking into the manufacturing or technology industries. However, as with New York City, the cost of living is high, so you’ll need to take that into account when searching for an entry-level job.
- Mean hourly wage: $39.35
- Population: 881,549
- Unemployment rate: 4.5%
San Diego, California
Located in Southern California near the U.S.-Mexico border, San Diego’s largest economic sectors include defense, manufacturing, and tourism. Forbes also declared the city the best location to launch a startup business in 2014. In 2021, rebounding from the pandemic, the city added 3,600 jobs in September, mostly in education.
- Mean hourly wage: $30.91
- Population: 1,423,851
- Unemployment rate: 5.3%
Fargo, North Dakota
North Dakota has a lower cost of living than cities in California or New York, which is great news for those just starting their working careers. Boasting a low unemployment rate, several entry-level positions are available in its major industries: Agriculture, manufacturing, healthcare, technology, and retail.
In October 2021, the city added 600 new jobs, reflecting its relatively low population.
- Mean annual wage: $25.30
- Population: 124,662
- Unemployment rate: 1.8%
Minneapolis, Minnesota, one of the twin cities, added 19,400 jobs to its economy in June and July 2021. Most of these gains were in the leisure and hospitality industries, which have seen a nationwide uptick. Following closely in growth are jobs in government, manufacturing, and construction.
- Mean hourly wage: $30.07
- Population: 429,606
- Unemployment rate: 2.6%
Conveniently located near Washington, D.C., Baltimore is host to various industries related to the service economy. Since the year began, Maryland has added more than 65,000 jobs to its economy, with 1,200 in September alone.
Government, leisure and hospitality, and professional and business services gained the most, followed by manufacturing.
- Mean hourly wage: $30.05
- Population: 593,490
- Unemployment rate: 4.9%
College Graduates and Employment
If you graduated college in 2020, your odds of finding a job were lower than in the previous year. According to Pew Research Center, only 69% of college graduates between the ages of 20 and 29 were employed last year.
However, 2021 saw a significant increase in job openings, with more than 10 million in September. While the unemployment rate is stabilizing, not every city affords the best opportunities for those seeking to enter the labor force.
For recent college graduates and those seeking new employment opportunities, several cities offer many entry-level positions. The leisure and hospitality industries are rebounding heavily in several cities, thanks to the relaxation of COVID-19-related social-distancing guidelines and travel restrictions.
Manufacturing, professional or business services, and healthcare tend to follow.
Continue Your Job Search
Once you determine which city is the best fit for your career pursuits, you’ll need to find a way to search for jobs in your area. JobsFuel provides a convenient search engine for employment opportunities and an informative blog. If you want to learn more about how to write a resume or answer interview questions, check out JobsFuel.com.