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These Are the Top 5 Best Places to Launch a Career in 2023, According to a New Report Austin came in as the No. 1 overall best metropolitan area to launch a career.

By Madeline Garfinkle

Key Takeaways

  • According to a new report by Bankrate, Austin is the best city in the U.S. to start a career in 2023.
  • Los Angeles and New York ranked near the bottom, coming in at No. 40 and No. 43, respectively.
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Lady Bird Lake in downtown Austin.

Despite big cities like New York and Los Angeles historically serving as epicenters for new grads and individuals launching careers, when it comes to affordability and quality of life, there might be better options if you're entering the workforce in 2023.

According to a new report by Bankrate, Austin, TX is the best city in the U.S. to start a career in 2023, based on factors of affordability, job market, and quality of life. The city has become a viable option for young professionals as tech giants like Tesla, Meta, and IBM have arrived and continue to boom. Austin also boasts a lively music scene with a slew of outdoor activities like hiking and kayaking.

Following Austin, Seattle, WA, and Salt Lake City, UT came in second and third, respectively, as the best places to start a career in 2023 for their affordability, breadth of employment options, and quality of life. Seattle in particular ranked No. 1 for employment opportunities, as the Washington city is home to big companies like Amazon, Starbucks, and Microsoft.

"The pandemic caused people to reevaluate what's important to them versus what has been pushed, because the narrative before was that you graduate and you go to one of the major cities, and you make it work with roommates," said Raquel Cid, career coach and founder of Coached by Cid, in the report.

Related: These 15 U.S. States Have the Highest Employment Levels, According to a New Report

Individuals entering the workforce may have a tougher time in their new surroundings in places such as San Bernardino, CA, Birmingham, AL, and Sacramento, CA — which ranked in the bottom three of the report. Despite the near-perfect weather of California and the Southern charm of Alabama, the areas lack employment opportunities and affordability, making them suboptimal places to launch one's career.

As far as the tired and true post-grad routes of Los Angeles and New York, those cities both ranked near the bottom, coming in at No. 40 and No. 43, respectively.

See below for the top five best and worst places to launch a career in 2023, according to Bankrate.

Top 5 best places to start a career:

1. Austin-Round Rock-Georgetown, TX

  • Affordability rank: 12
  • Employment opportunity rank: 3
  • Quality of life rank: 1

2. Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA

  • Affordability rank: 20
  • Employment opportunity rank: 1
  • Quality of life rank: 4

3. Salt Lake City, UT

  • Affordability rank: 29
  • Employment opportunity rank: 2
  • Quality of life rank: 9

4. Raleigh-Cary, NC

  • Affordability rank: 4
  • Employment opportunity rank: 6
  • Quality of life rank: 2

5. Nashville-Davidson–Murfreesboro–Franklin, TN

  • Affordability rank: 17
  • Employment opportunity rank: 8
  • Quality of life rank: 6

Top 5 worst places to start a career:

1. Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA

  • Affordability rank: 47
  • Employment opportunity rank: 50
  • Quality of life rank: 33

2. Birmingham, AL

  • Affordability rank: 14
  • Employment opportunity rank: 44
  • Quality of life rank: 50

3. Sacramento-Roseville-Folsom, CA

  • Affordability rank: 44
  • Employment opportunity rank: 36
  • Quality of life rank: 17

4. Memphis, TN

  • Affordability rank: 22
  • Employment opportunity rank: 48
  • Quality of life rank: 49

5. New Orleans-Metairie, LA

  • Affordability rank: 42
  • Employment opportunity rank: 41
  • Quality of life rank: 48

You can see the full list here.

Related: 7 of the 10 Most Expensive Cities to Live in the U.S. Are in One State

Madeline Garfinkle

News Writer

Madeline Garfinkle is a News Writer at She is a graduate from Syracuse University, and received an MFA from Columbia University. 

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