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Graduating This Year? Here’s Where to Move

Stay away from California.

Congratulations, class of 2016. You did it! Now, where to next?

Pittsburgh’s sounding awfully nice.

The Steel City comes in first place on the new Graduate Opportunity Index. Compiled by Trulia in partnership with LinkedIn, the index rates “40 of America’s strongest job markets based on what they have to offer recent college grads,” according to a report released on Thursday. 1

Three equally weighted factors go into each metro area’s score on the index: the share of entry-level job openings for recent graduates, the percentage of rental units affordable 2 to a median-income grad between the ages of 22 and 30, and the share of the area’s population 22 to 30 with at least a bachelor's degree (a measure of how dense a city is with a college grad's peers).

The message to young college graduates: Head (or stay) East.

How about all those millennials in San Francisco? Sure, you’ll have plenty of young, educated compatriots out there—and the median income for a recent grad is high—but good luck paying the rent, or getting an entry-level job. You may want to stay away from California altogether—the state is home to eight of the 10 worst metro areas for recent grads. (The beaches of Miami are also looking less than appealing.)

When thinking about where to set up shop, don’t let a high nominal salary lure you, said Ralph McLaughlin, Trulia’s chief economist and the author of the report. “You know, even though you’ve graduated, you still have to do your homework," he said. "Compare other factors that affect what your well-being might be like when you take your first job out of college.”

While you’re doing homework, you may also want to give mom and dad a call—the chances you'll be living with them are better than they have been in decades.

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  1. Starting with the 100 largest metro areas in the U.S., these were the 40 areas with at least 1,000 entry-level job openings and 10,000 total job openings on LinkedIn.

  2. Rental units are considered affordable if they cost 30 percent or less of monthly income.

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