By Christina Sturgis
Many college graduates seeking their first professional job are deep in debt. With keg parties a memory and the glow of parental expectations all around them, it’s time to land that first position. If the first offer comes from a business in Cleveland, should they cheer?
Wallet Hub analyzed 150 cities to find the best cities for recent graduates looking to start a career. Of 150 cities analyzed, Cleveland is ranked 142 and Akron is 146. Toledo fared better, coming in at 135. Cleveland beat both Akron and Toledo for quality of life, scoring a 97, but scraped the bottom for professional opportunities, ranking a dismal 149. Akron was hit hard on job growth, ranking at 147.
Wallet Hub consulted more than a dozen professionals to give their best advice to graduates. Carl Martellino, executive director of the Career Center at the University of Southern California, told the graduates to consider housing costs and sharing with roommates to help bear the burden.
Ohio has the advantage of affordable housing. Toledo, for example, has one of the least expensive rental markets on the list with a monthly rent of $677. The most expensive city was San Francisco at $1,956. But Ohio cities weren’t all relegated to the bottom of the list. Cincinnati came in 43rd and Columbus came in 46th.
Jeff Garis, senior director of Penn State Career Services said recent graduates looking for a place to live should also consider the regional cost of living index.
“Check commute conditions and time as well as public transportation. Consider if the region is compatible with personal life style interests,” Garis said.
Time magazine recently highlighted both Columbus and Cincinnati in its recent top 10 cities for starting a career. Columbus was lauded for average rent of $732 and for proximity to colleges and a high percentage of singles. Cincinnati’s rents are even lower, $707, and it’s a major city with large employers, including Kroger, a retail giant with grocers, department stores, convenience stores and jewelry shops, and Procter and Gamble, nationwide maker of products for the home.