The 5 Worst Cities to Start Your Career

Although the economy (and the job market) have improved in recent years, the progress has been spotty. Some regions are in much better financial positions than others. For example, the unemployment rate varies widely state to state. For recent college grads, choosing where to launch a career is an important decision with potentially far-reaching consequences.

Detroit skyline

(Photo Credit: Bryan Debus/Flickr)

Recently, WalletHub ranked the 150 most populated U.S. cities based on 19 metrics related to quality of life, professional opportunities, etc., to determine the best and worst cities to start a career.

Let’s take a closer look at the five worst cities to start your career, according to this research.

1. Detroit, Michigan.
Professional Opportunities Rank: 145 of 150; Quality of Life Rank: 146 of 150

With high unemployment and low average salaries, Detroit was dubbed the single worst city to launch a career. The struggling economy of the city has led to a barrage of problems for residents, including a high rate of foreclosures. The Motor City is beloved by many, but it’s not a great place to get started. However, the city is doing a lot to try to turn their economy around. Things could improve soon.

2. Fresno, California.
Professional Opportunities Rank: 150 of 150; Quality of Life Rank: 134 of 150

Fresno, California landed at 146 of the 150 cities profiled for lowest starting salary, and the cost of living in California is relatively high. Fresno struggles with unemployment as well, and this study ranked them 146 out of 150 cities in terms of available leisure establishments. Still, the population of the city has been growing for some time, which continues to add to the challenge of turning things around while also breathing fresh life and hope for the future into the region.

3. Toledo, Ohio.
Professional Opportunities Rank: 144 of 150; Quality of Life Rank: 142 of 150

Toledo struggles with high unemployment, and low rates of education, but it did score well for cost of living compared with many other cities profiled in the study. Toledo was ranked last of the five Ohio cities profiled – but Cleveland came in a close second. It was ranked 145 out of 150 overall.

4. Columbus, Georgia.
Professional Opportunities Rank: 142 of 150; Quality of Life Rank: 138 of 150

Columbus, Georgia ranked third from the bottom in terms of entry-level jobs, making it a tough place to get started. Additionally, The Daily Beast recently ranked Columbus number one on their list of America’s brokest cities noting that the average personal debt was over $27,000.

5. Stockton, California.
Professional Opportunities Rank: 140 of 150; Quality of Life Rank: 136 of 150

Ranked fifth from the bottom for leisure establishments per capita, and with the third highest unemployment rating on the list, Stockton, California is fifth on this list of worst cities to start a career. It’s just one of three California cities in the bottom 10. Modesto, California comes in at number eight.

For more information, check out the complete list of all 150 cities.

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