10 Best States in America for College Graduates to Find Jobs

Source: Thinkstock

Source: Thinkstock

Is a college degree still worth the cost? That question is an ongoing debate as soaring tuition prices and debt levels saddle young adults every school year. Making matters worse, a degree is no longer an automatic ticket to the middle class. In today’s economy, some states provide a thriving job market for certain degree holders, while others only provide hope that an offer in a relatable field might come along.

A new report from the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce analyzes which states provide college graduates with the best odds of landing a job. Using online job ads data from Burning Glass Technologies, the report studies the number of job ads in each state, along with the competitiveness of the labor market in each state. Overall, employers now advertise more than 60% of all job openings online, including 80% to 90% of job openings that require at least a bachelor’s degree.

College graduates have the worst odds of finding jobs in Mississippi, South Carolina, Rhode Island, and West Virginia, but let’s take a look at the 10 best states for finding jobs.

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Source: Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce

10. Texas

The Lone Star state ranks as the 10th best state in the nation for college graduates trying to find jobs. More than 143,000 online job ads can be found, with 33% of those for managerial and professional office occupations, in addition to 25% in the consulting and business services sector. The fastest growing industry for college graduates is information services, boosting a 57% increase between the first quarter of 2010 and the second quarter of 2013. Employers with the largest online recruiting presence include Dell, Accenture, Hospital Corporation of America, The Methodist Hospital System, and Hewlett-Packard.

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Source: Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce

9. Minnesota

With 44,100 online job ads for college graduates, Minnesota ranks as the ninth best state for degree holders trying to find employment. The largest share of job ads are directed toward managerial and professional office occupations, but STEM opportunities are a close second, followed by sales and office support. The fastest growing industry sector for college graduates is government services, which surged 71% between the first quarter of 2010 and the second quarter of 2013. Employers with the largest online recruiting presence include UnitedHealth Group, University of Minnesota, Target, and Thomson Reuters.

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Source: Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce

8. California

California certainly has its trouble spots, but it ranks as the eighth best state for college graduates trying to find jobs. Out of 266,000 online job ads for degree holders, 34% are for managerial and professional office occupations, while 27% are in the consulting and business services sector. However, few opportunities are found in education, food and personal service, blue-collar, social science, and healthcare support. Employers with the largest online recruiting presence include Kaiser Permanente, Sutter Health, eBay, Deloitte Development LLC, and the University of California. Between the first quarter of 2010 and the second quarter of 2013, leisure and hospitality services jumped 30%, making it the fastest growing industry sector for college graduates.

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Source: Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce

7. Oregon

Oregon ranks as the seventh best state for college graduates trying to find employment. It has 26,000 online job ads for degree holders, with 31% of ads seeking out STEM graduates, one of the highest concentrations of job ads for STEM occupations in the country. In fact, over the past few years, the state’s STEM employment force has increased 52%. Meanwhile, 21% of online ads are in the healthcare services sector. Employers with the largest online recruiting presence include Nike, Intel, Oregon State Hospital, and Automatic Data Processing.

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Source: Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce

6. Arizona

With nearly 35,000 online job ads for college graduates, Arizona ranks as the sixth best state for degree holders trying to find employment. A third of those ads are for managerial and professional office occupations, and one-fifth of the ads are in the healthcare services industry. The top occupational groups include software developers, registered nurses, computer occupations, sales representatives, and medical/health managers. The largest employers are some of America’s most well-known companies, such as UnitedHealth Group, Intel, Verizon Communications, and Raytheon.

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Source: Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce

5. Alaska

Alaska has fewer than 5,000 online job ads for college graduates, but considering the competition, it ranks as the fifth best state for degree holders. Twenty-seven percent of those ads are for managerial and professional office occupations. The fastest growing industry sector for college graduates is consulting and business services, which increased 56% in recent years. Employers with the largest online recruiting presence include the University of Alaska, Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium, Providence Health & Services, and ConocoPhillips.

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Source: Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce

4. Colorado

Colorado ranks as the fourth best state for college graduates trying to find jobs. It has more than 48,000 online job ads for degree holders, with 31% of those ads for managerial and professional office occupations. The fastest growing occupational cluster for college graduates in the state is healthcare professional and technical, while the fastest growing industry sector is natural resources. Employers with the largest online recruiting presence include Centura Health, State of Colorado, Dish Network, and CenturyLink.

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Source: Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce

3. Washington

With 65,400 online job ads for college graduates, Washington ranks as the third best state for degree holders. A third of those ads are for managerial and professional office occupations, and 42% are in the consulting and business services and the healthcare services sectors. Employers with the largest online recruiting presence include Amazon, Microsoft, Providence Health and Services, University of Washington, Boeing, and Expedia. In recent years, the fastest growing industry has been transportation and utilities.

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Source: Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce

2. Delaware

With only 7,300 online job ads for college graduates, Delaware ranks as the second best state for degree holders. It is commonly referred to as the best state to incorporate, especially for the financial sector judging by the report. Employers with the largest online recruiting presence include JPMorgan, Capital One, DuPont, Citi, AstraZeneca, and Barclays. Healthcare professional and technical occupations logged the fastest growth (83%) between the first quarter of 2010 and the second quarter of 2013, and 33% online job ads for college graduates are for managerial and professional office occupations.

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Source: Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce

1. Massachusetts

Despite being one of the smallest states in the nation, Massachusetts has 94,600 online job ads for college graduates, making it the best state for degree holders seeking employment. Thirty-five percent of those ads are for managerial and professional office occupations. The fastest growing industry sector college graduates is government services, posting a 52% increase in recent years. Employers with the largest online recruiting presence include Liberty Mutual, Sterling Life Sciences, Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Massachusetts General Hospital, and Harvard University.

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