10 Best Cities for Business Graduates to Move

Whether you’ve just graduated with your business degree or you’re a seasoned pro looking for a change of scenery, it’s time to think about where you’ll look for your next opportunity.

Knowing where to move isn’t as simple as finding a city that’s home to a few Fortune 500 companies and has a high concentration of takeout food (you’re a business major; you’re smarter than that). There are several factors you should consider before deciding where you’ll put down roots to start your new business career.

To save you a bit of time in your search, we’ve partnered with Business.org to review employment data and conduct cost of living analyses for America’s most populous metropolitan areas. From there, we went on to rank the best cities for business graduates to move.

Best Cities for Business Graduates to Move

Factors we considered

Open positions

There’s no point moving somewhere for a job if there are no jobs available, right? That’s why we put the most weight on open positions in a business or financial operations occupation.

We consulted the Bureau of Labor Statistics to discover the number of open positions per 1,000 jobs in the business sector in each metro area. We’ll display these as the percentage of vacant or open positions in the business field.

Cost of livability

Securing a job is one thing, but being able to afford living in a particular city is another.

To find out how comfortable you’d be in your new locale, we looked at the percentage of income left over for discretionary spending after subtracting each metro area’s average cost of living from the median hourly wage of business professionals.

Unemployment rate

Unemployment rates are often a good barometer for the health of a particular city’s job market. Although it’s not the most important factor when considering where to move, it’s still a good reference to see an area’s long-term job prospects.

Move.org’s top 10 metro cities for business majors

#1: Washington, DC

Metro area: Washington, Arlington, Alexandria

Washington D.C.

The Washington, DC, metro area is home to one of the most affluent and educated populations in the United States, so it won’t come as too much of a surprise to learn that the nation’s capital is also a booming business hub.

Washington earns the top spot on our list for two main reasons: it’s our highest-ranked city for open positions in business and finance, and it comes in second in cost of livability.

Washington, DC, also boasts the nation’s highest median hourly wage for business grads at $42.74, making it a great place to get a return on your educational investment.

Percentage of open business positions Cost of livabilityUnemployment rate
Details10.3%64.7%8.6%
Statistical rank1218
Details
Statistical rank
Percentage of open business positions Cost of livability Unemployment rate
10.3% 64.7% 8.6%
1 2 18

#2: Denver, CO

Metro area: Denver, Aurora, Lakewood

Denver, Colorado

If you’d like to take your career a bit closer to the great outdoors, the Mile-High City is a great place to look. The Denver metro area ranks second highest on our list for business job openings and lands in the top five in unemployment. So not only are there lots of positions to choose from, but low unemployment shows a strong economy in which to grow your career.

Median hourly wages rank fairly high, too, at $34.54—putting Denver’s business population in the top third for remaining income for discretionary spending.

Percentage of open business positions Cost of livabilityUnemployment rate
Details8.3%60.2%6.6%
Statistical rank2115
Details
Statistical rank
Percentage of open business positions Cost of livability Unemployment rate
8.3% 60.2% 6.6%
2 11 5

#3: Boston, MA

Metro area: Boston, Cambridge, Newton

Boston, MA

Boston is home to some of the nation’s greatest cultural and historical sites—and it’s also home to a lot of jobs in business. Despite its steady supply of local graduates from the staggering number of colleges and universities in the area, the Boston metro still has the fifth-highest number of available positions in business and finance.

The Boston metro can be an expensive place to live, but it also boasts the fourth-highest median income on our list—making the move a bit more comfortable than you might think.

Percentage of open business positions Cost of livabilityUnemployment rate
Details7.3%61.3%7.6%
Statistical rank5810
Details
Statistical rank
Percentage of open business positions Cost of livability Unemployment rate
7.3% 61.3% 7.6%
5 8 10

#4: Seattle, WA

Metro area: Seattle, Tacoma, Bellevue

Seattle, WA

Sure, Seattle might be the birthplace of Amazon, but that certainly isn’t the only company that might lure you to the Pacific Northwest. The Seattle metro has the fourth-most open business positions on our list and demonstrates a strong business climate with only a 6.45% unemployment rate.

Although the Seattle metro has more open positions than Boston, a higher cost of livability pushes Seattle down to number four on our list.

Percentage of open business positions Cost of livabilityUnemployment rate
Details7.7%59.5%6.5%
Statistical rank4154
Details
Statistical rank
Percentage of open business positions Cost of livability Unemployment rate
7.7% 59.5% 6.5%
4 15 4

#5: Minneapolis, MN

Metro area: Minneapolis, St. Paul, Bloomington

Minneapolis, MN

The Minneapolis metro might be one of the coldest areas of the country, but a high number of open positions and low unemployment rates make it a great place to start your career.

Strong job prospects are certainly a reason to give Minneapolis a look for your first job, but the fact that IHS Global Insights identifies it as the second-largest economic center in the Midwest can make it a good option for the long haul, too.

Percentage of open business positions Cost of livabilityUnemployment rate
Details6.8%58.6%6.3%
Statistical rank6183
Details
Statistical rank
Percentage of open business positions Cost of livability Unemployment rate
6.8% 58.6% 6.3%
6 18 3

#6: San Diego, CA

Metro area: San Diego, Carlsbad

San Diego, CA

If Southern California is calling your name, San Diego is your best bet to put your business degree to good use. It claims the number-two spot for lowest unemployment rates among the cities we assessed and comes in at number seven for cost of livability.

The number of job openings in the San Diego metro falls in the middle of our list with a 6.1% vacancy.

Percentage of open business positions Cost of livabilityUnemployment rate
Details6.1%61.4%5.5%
Statistical rank1472
Details
Statistical rank
Percentage of open business positions Cost of livability Unemployment rate
6.1% 61.4% 5.5%
14 7 2

#7: New York, NY

Metro area: New York, Newark, Jersey City

New York, NY

New York City is a major global hub for everything from banking and finance to media and the arts. Since it comes in at number nine in both job openings and cost of liveability, it’s a solid pick no matter what stage of your career you’re in.

If you’re worried about job security, however, New York has a 9% unemployment rate—the ninth-highest rate out of all of the metros in our study.

Percentage of open business positions Cost of livabilityUnemployment rate
Details6.4%60.8%9.1%
Statistical rank9921
Details
Statistical rank
Percentage of open business positions Cost of livability Unemployment rate
6.4% 60.8% 9.1%
9 9 21

#8: Sacramento, CA

Metro area: Sacramento, Roseville, Arden-Arcade, Yuba City

Sacramento, CA

The Greater Sacramento area lands at number eight on our list thanks in large part to its high number of open business and finance positions, which is at about an 8% vacancy—the third-highest on our list. This is in stark contrast to its high unemployment rate, which at 10.45% is the worst out of all the metro areas we analyzed.

The cost of livability helps Sacramento strike a balance, with business and finance grads seeing about 59% of their income left over from expenses for discretionary spending.

Percentage of open business positions Cost of livabilityUnemployment rate
Details8%59.1%10.5%
Statistical rank31630
Details
Statistical rank
Percentage of open business positions Cost of livability Unemployment rate
8% 59.1% 10.5%
3 16 30

#9: Baltimore, MD

Metro area: Baltimore, Columbia, Towson

Baltimore, MD

The Baltimore metro area sits in the upper third of our list in both open business positions and cost of livability. At $34.38, Baltimore’s median wage is in the middle of the pack in our list, and at only 40 miles from Washington, DC, a move to Baltimore may open up opportunities for you in our number-one city.

Percentage of open business positions Cost of livabilityUnemployment rate
Details6.3%59.8%9.1%
Statistical rank101220
Details
Statistical rank
Percentage of open business positions Cost of livability Unemployment rate
6.3% 59.8% 9.1%
10 12 20

#10: Philadelphia, PA

Metro area: Philadelphia, Camden, Wilmington

Philadelphia, PA

The Birthplace of America rounds out our top ten cities for business majors with strong showings in all three of our statistical categories. The Philadelphia metro area ranks at number thirteen in both open business positions and cost of livability, while an unemployment rate of 8% sits squarely in the middle at number fifteen in our list.

Percentage of open business positions Cost of livabilityUnemployment rate
Details6.1%59.8%8%
Statistical rank131315
Details
Statistical rank
Percentage of open business positions Cost of livability Unemployment rate
6.1% 59.8% 8%
13 13 15

Move.org’s top 30 metro cities to move for business grads

  1. Washington DC
  2. Denver, CO
  3. Boston, MA
  4. Seattle, WA
  5. Minneapolis, MN
  6. San Diego, CA
  7. New York, NY
  8. Sacramento, CA
  9. Baltimore, MD
  10. Philadelphia, PA
  11. Kansas City, MO
  12. Charlotte, NC
  13. Dallas, TX
  14. Portland, OR
  15. Atlanta, GA
  16. Los Angeles, CA
  17. Riverside, CA
  18. St. Louis, MO
  19. Phoenix, AZ
  20. Cincinnati, OH
  21. San Antonio, TX
  22. Detroit, MI
  23. Houston, TX
  24. Tampa, FL
  25. Chicago, IL
  26. San Francisco, CA
  27. Miami, FL
  28. Las Vegas, NV
  29. Orlando, FL
  30. Pittsburgh, PA

Has your business degree taken you to any of these cities? Do you think it will? Tell us in the comments below!

Methodology

To determine the top ten cities for business graduates to move, we looked into three ranking factors: unemployment rate, number of job openings per 1,000 in a business or financial occupation, and the average cost of living and hourly wage. From there, we weighted the number of job openings as the key ranking factor, then cost of living compared to median wage, and finally, the overall unemployment rate in each city.

Comprehensive statistics

Open positions in business and financial operations occupations

RankMetro areaPercentage of open business positions
1Washington, DC10.3%
2Denver, CO8.3%
3Sacramento, CA8%
4Seattle, WA7.7%
5Boston, MA7.3%
6Minneapolis, MN6.8%
7Charlotte, NC6.8%
8Atlanta, GA6.5%
9New York, NY6.4%
10Baltimore, MD6.3%
11Kansas City, MO6.3%
12Tampa, FL6.2%
13Philadelphia, PA6.1%
14San Diego, CA6.1%
15Los Angeles, CA6.1%
16Cincinnati, OH5.9%
17Portland, OR5.8%
18Chicago, IL5.7%
19Phoenix, AZ5.7%
20St. Louis, MO5.7%
21Dallas, TX5.6%
22Detroit, MI5.5%
23Miami, FL5.5%
24San Antonio, TX5.4%
25Orlando, FL5.4%
26Houston, TX5.2%
27Pittsburgh, PA5.1%
28Riverside, CA3.6%
29Las Vegas, NV3.5%
30San Francisco, CA1.8%
Rank
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
Metro area Percentage of open business positions
Washington, DC 10.3%
Denver, CO 8.3%
Sacramento, CA 8%
Seattle, WA 7.7%
Boston, MA 7.3%
Minneapolis, MN 6.8%
Charlotte, NC 6.8%
Atlanta, GA 6.5%
New York, NY 6.4%
Baltimore, MD 6.3%
Kansas City, MO 6.3%
Tampa, FL 6.2%
Philadelphia, PA 6.1%
San Diego, CA 6.1%
Los Angeles, CA 6.1%
Cincinnati, OH 5.9%
Portland, OR 5.8%
Chicago, IL 5.7%
Phoenix, AZ 5.7%
St. Louis, MO 5.7%
Dallas, TX 5.6%
Detroit, MI 5.5%
Miami, FL 5.5%
San Antonio, TX 5.4%
Orlando, FL 5.4%
Houston, TX 5.2%
Pittsburgh, PA 5.1%
Riverside, CA 3.6%
Las Vegas, NV 3.5%
San Francisco, CA 1.8%

Cost of livability as defined by median wage minus average cost of living

RankMetro areaPercentage of remaining discretionary income after expenses
1Riverside, CA73.6%
2Washington, DC64.7%
3Houston, TX64.2%
4San Antonio, TX63.1%
5Dallas, TX62.9%
6San Francisco, CA62.7%
7San Diego CA61.4%
8Boston, MA61.3%
9New York, NY60.8%
10Detroit, MI60.4%
11Denver, CO60.2%
12Baltimore, MD59.8%
13Philadelphia, PA59.8%
14Los Angeles, CA59.7%
15Seattle, WA59.5%
16Sacramento, CA59.1%
17Charlotte, NC58.9%
18Minneapolis, MN58.6%
19St. Louis, MO58.1%
20Portland, OR57.6%
21Kansas City, MO57.5%
22Atlanta, GA57.3%
23Phoenix, AZ56.6%
24Chicago, IL56.6%
25Cincinnati, OH56.3%
26Las Vegas, NV55.4%
27Pittsburgh, PA54.7%
28Tampa, FL54.1%
29Orlando, FL53.5%
30Miami, FL52.3%
Rank
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
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21
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23
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25
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29
30
Metro area Percentage of remaining discretionary income after expenses
Riverside, CA 73.6%
Washington, DC 64.7%
Houston, TX 64.2%
San Antonio, TX 63.1%
Dallas, TX 62.9%
San Francisco, CA 62.7%
San Diego CA 61.4%
Boston, MA 61.3%
New York, NY 60.8%
Detroit, MI 60.4%
Denver, CO 60.2%
Baltimore, MD 59.8%
Philadelphia, PA 59.8%
Los Angeles, CA 59.7%
Seattle, WA 59.5%
Sacramento, CA 59.1%
Charlotte, NC 58.9%
Minneapolis, MN 58.6%
St. Louis, MO 58.1%
Portland, OR 57.6%
Kansas City, MO 57.5%
Atlanta, GA 57.3%
Phoenix, AZ 56.6%
Chicago, IL 56.6%
Cincinnati, OH 56.3%
Las Vegas, NV 55.4%
Pittsburgh, PA 54.7%
Tampa, FL 54.1%
Orlando, FL 53.5%
Miami, FL 52.3%

Average unemployment rate for individuals ages 20–29 years old

RankMetro areaAverage unemployment rate
1Portland, OR5%
2San Diego, CA5.5%
3Minneapolis, MN6.3%
4Seattle, WA6.5%
5Denver, CO6.6%
6Phoenix, AZ6.7%
7St. Louis, MO7.1%
8Kansas City, MO7.1%
9Las Vegas, NV7.5%
10Boston, MA7.6%
11Riverside, CA7.7%
12Miami, FL7.7%
13Dallas, TX7.7%
14Cincinnati, OH7.7%
15Philadelphia, PA8%
16Chicago, IL8.4%
17Orlando, FL8.6%
18Washington, DC8.6%
19Los Angeles, CA8.9%
20Baltimore, MD9.1%
21New York, NY9.1%
22Atlanta, GA9.1%
23Pittsburgh, PA9.2%
24Detroit, MI9.3%
25Tampa, FL9.3%
26Houston, TX9.5%
27San Francisco, CA9.6%
28San Antonio, TX9.6%
29Charlotte, NC10.2%
30Sacramento, CA10.5%
Rank
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
Metro area Average unemployment rate
Portland, OR 5%
San Diego, CA 5.5%
Minneapolis, MN 6.3%
Seattle, WA 6.5%
Denver, CO 6.6%
Phoenix, AZ 6.7%
St. Louis, MO 7.1%
Kansas City, MO 7.1%
Las Vegas, NV 7.5%
Boston, MA 7.6%
Riverside, CA 7.7%
Miami, FL 7.7%
Dallas, TX 7.7%
Cincinnati, OH 7.7%
Philadelphia, PA 8%
Chicago, IL 8.4%
Orlando, FL 8.6%
Washington, DC 8.6%
Los Angeles, CA 8.9%
Baltimore, MD 9.1%
New York, NY 9.1%
Atlanta, GA 9.1%
Pittsburgh, PA 9.2%
Detroit, MI 9.3%
Tampa, FL 9.3%
Houston, TX 9.5%
San Francisco, CA 9.6%
San Antonio, TX 9.6%
Charlotte, NC 10.2%
Sacramento, CA 10.5%

Sources

IHS Global Insight, “US Metro Economies
Numbeo, “Cost of Living
United States Census Bureau, “Annual Estimates of the Resident Population
United States Census Bureau, “Employment Status
United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Occupational Employment Statistics

About Colin Holmes

Colin Holmes
Colin is no stranger to moving, having done so five times in the last five years. As a former journalist and documentary interviewer, Colin brings a wealth of research experience to improving your move.