Aug 18, 2014

Madison #5 on Forbes Ranking of 15 Best Cities for Young Professionals

Excerpted from
By Erin Carlyle

The American economy has pumped out more than 200,000 jobs a month for six months running, as of the latest (July) numbers. Still, more than 2 million college-educated workers age 25 or older are unemployed, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Workers age 25 to 34 face a 6.6% unemployment rate—the highest of any group other than the one encompassing new grads (ages 20-24).

To find out which cities offer the best prospects for professionals aged 24 to 34 who hold a bachelor’s degree or higher, we analyzed the 100 largest Metropolitan Statistical Areas (cities and their surrounding suburbs) as defined by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget, ranking them on seven factors with an equal weight on each. We considered local unemployment rates (projected 2014 annual) and 2014-2016 job growth projections, provided by Moody’s and the Bureau of Labor Statistics. We assessed the number of small businesses less than 500 employees) per capita as well as large ones, using the latest data available from the U.S. Census Bureau. We also factored in median salaries for 24- to 34-year-old employed college graduates, using data provided by And we rated how far these salaries might go with the help of Moody’s cost-of-living index. Finally, we considered Census data on the percentage of the local population aged 25 and older with bachelor’s degrees or higher.

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