Grand Rapids is fourth-best city to ‘start a career’ in US


Young professionals mingle at the annual Summer Intern Welcome Reception, hosted by the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce. Courtesy GRACC

Grand Rapids is considered one of the most career-friendly places in the country for entry-level job seekers, according to a new report.

The personal finance website WalletHub released today its 2017 ranking of the “Best Cities to Start a Career,” and Grand Rapids ranks No. 4 just behind Salt Lake City, Orlando, Florida and Austin, Texas. 


WalletHub compared the 150 most-populated markets in the U.S. based on two key factors: professional opportunities and quality of life.

The data was split into 23 key indicators with various weights adding up to 100 points. A score of 100 represents the most favorable conditions for job-market entrants.

Professional opportunities (70 points): availability of entry-level jobs; monthly average starting salary; annual job growth rate; median income growth rate; economic mobility; workforce diversity; unemployment rate; underemployment rate; job security; job satisfaction; and entrepreneur-friendliness

Quality of life (30 points): median annual income; average length of work week (in hours); commuter-friendly jobs; average commute time (in minutes); share of population ages 25 to 34; strength of social ties; share of adults ages 25 and older with at least a bachelor’s degree; projected population growth; housing affordability; fun-friendliness; family friendliness; and singles-friendliness

Analysts then calculated the total score for each city based on its weighted average across all metrics and used the resulting scores to construct the final ranking.

Grand Rapids’ ranking details (score of 1 = best; 75 = average)

Housing affordability: 12th

Monthly average starting salary (adjusted for cost of living): 68th

Entry-level jobs per 100,000 working-age population: 8th

Annual job growth rate (adjusted for population growth): 2nd

Unemployment rate: 65th

Percentage of adults age 25 and older with at least a bachelor’s degree: 64th

Fun-friendliness: 43rd

Top 10 cities to “start a career” (total score)

1. Salt Lake City: 68.72

2. Orlando, Florida: 63.50

3. Austin, Texas: 62.21

4. Grand Rapids: 62.06

5. Tempe, Arizona: 60.58

6. Atlanta,: 60.50

7. Miami: 59.94

8. Denver: 59.19

9. Irving, Texas: 58.78

10. Madison, Wisconsin: 57.92

Bottom 10 cities to “start a career” (total score)

140. Akron, Ohio: 38.20

141. Jackson, Mississippi: 38.05

142. Chesapeake, Virginia: 37.88

143. Shreveport, Louisiana: 37.06

144. Detroit: 37.05

145. Yonkers, New York: 36.79

146. Toledo, Ohio: 36.73

147. Montgomery, Alabama: 36.24

148. Augusta, Georgia: 36.03

149. Cleveland: 35.22

150. Newark, New Jersey: 35.06

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