Economy & Jobs

The 10 Best Places to Start a Career as a Millennial

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Even with the improving economy, it can be challenging for recent college graduates to launch their careers. After doing some research, it’s clear that some cities offer more for young job seekers: low unemployment rates, booming job openings, affordability, and fun things to do. We used those factors to put together a list of the 10 best places to start a career.

1. New Orleans, LA

Known for Mardi Gras and jazz, New Orleans is a rapidly growing hub for creative careers. In addition to delicious southern cooking right at your fingertips, you’ll be able to save loads of money on rent: The median monthly housing in 2014 cost $899. New Orleans also offers an unemployment rate of 6.1 percent.

2. New York, NY

The Big Apple is one of the best places to start a career as a Millennial. It offers endless food options and great public transportation. The city lacks in affordable housing (median rent $1071), but has a low unemployment rate of about 5.6 percent and limitless career opportunities — especially in finance, tech, and entertainment.

3. Denver, CO

In addition to a monthly median rent of $798 and numerous local breweries, Denver also offers creative businesses like PR firm Ground Floor Media which was voted as one of the best places to work by Outside magazine. With a low unemployment rate of 3.9 percent, Millennials are flocking to this Colorado city for the great opportunities and the great outdoors.

4. Austin, TX

If you’re looking for inexpensive housing (coming in at $882 a month), saving a little more in your paycheck (there is no state income tax in Texas), food trucks galore, and unique local bars, Austin will satisfy everything on your list. The city sports a 3.4 percent unemployment rate and hosts the annual SXSW event, which promotes creative and professional growth within independent film, original music, and emerging technologies.

5. San Fransisco, CA

Expensive rent shouldn’t be the reason San Francisco isn’t on your list. Among other things, the city offers great coffee shops, restaurants, and an ever-growing tech scene. San Francisco is specifically known as a great place for career-minded females. It also has a 4.4 percent unemployment rate.

6. Seattle, WA

With a creative vibe, a delicious food scene, and a famous farmers’ market in the heart of the city, Seattle has a lot to offer. It’s also a coffee lover’s dream, with quaint shops scattered around the city. One major company to work for in the Seattle area is Zillow, a real estate website that is taking apartment and house hunting by storm. The average Seattle rent comes in at $958 a month, has a low unemployment rate of about 4.8 percent, and no income taxes.

7. Milwaukee, WI

A booming increase in employers means that Milwaukee is hiring like crazy. This is evident through its declining unemployment rate of 5.2 percent. The city comes alive in the summer with local farmers’ markets, craft beer, and music festivals. The housing is very affordable too, with an average cost of $736 per month.

8. Minneapolis, MN

As the hometown of Target and 3M, Minneapolis has a wealth of career opportunities. It also has a low unemployment rate of 3.3 percent. The median housing costs around $774 a month, and after New York, it offers the best live theater events and education.

9. Portland, OR

Known for its hipsters, microbreweries, and food trucks, Portland offers access to an array of diverse industries (and even more diverse working environments). At 5.8 percent, the unemployment rate reflects this. Portland is also one of the most environmentally conscious cities in the U.S., and has an average monthly rent of about $813.

10. Washington, D.C.

The District is the best place to live if you’re planning a career in politics, specifically for women. But you don’t need to work at the White House to get a career going. For example, Symmetry50 lists 25 of the best startups in the D.C. area. With an unemployment rate of 4.5 percent and median rental costs at $1,063 a month, it’s a smart choice, politically.

All unemployment data was verified by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics for December, 2014, with rental medians determined by Business Insider.

Carrie Smith is the financial writer and the owner of, a site that helps creative freelancers discover the art of making a living. In May 2013 she quit her full-time accounting job to pursue entrepreneurship. She's been featured in The Huffington Post, Glamour Magazine, Yahoo! Finance and many other business websites. Find her on Twitter at @carefulcents.


  1. Kim says:

    where in Denver is rent that cheap? We are moving because of the high cost of living. We pay 1000 month for a tiny 1 bedroom apartment and it’s not even that nice. You’d have to live in a rough neighborhood of Denver to get rent that cheap.