Study shows that NYC is the best city for grads to find jobs—but that doesn't mean it's easy to live here

S. Jhoanna Robledo

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Of all the major cities in the United States, New York ranks as the best place for new college grads to find work, according to a study from The site analyzed postings for entry-level jobs that require a college degree on (yes, apparently that's still around!), and perhaps unsurprisingly, NYC came out on top, with over 31,000 jobs posted during a three-month period. 

NYC offers plenty of career opportunities, clearly, but it doesn't necessarily follow that grads will have a smooth adjustment to life here. First, it's important to consider what kind of jobs are up for grabs. Last summer, NYC Planning released a report on employment patterns in the city, and found that the industries that have experienced the most growth in recent years are health care, accommodation and food services, and professional services (which can include a range of positions, from architecture to advertising to publishing.) 

This reflects a decades-long movement to a service-based economy, the report notes, which means "a highly bifurcated labor market and growing income inequality."

The Baruch College-run NYCData offers a breakdown of employment in different NYC industries, along with average wages, and it confirms that the health care industry is the largest, with almost 650,000 employees. Accommodation and food services is also huge, with almost 340,000 workers. 

These two industries also pay low wages, relative to many others: The average health care worker earns less than $50,000 a year, while the typical salary for someone in accommodation and food services is only $32,000. (New Yorkers working in "professional and technical services" fare far better, with an average income of $125,000, but given the scope of the category, we'd imagine that pay varies significantly.) 

Meanwhile, according to the most recent Douglas Elliman market reports, the median rental prices in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens are $3,417, $2,800, and $3,088, respectively. And given that most landlords require renters to earn 40 times the monthly rent, that means that even a $2,000 rental requires that you have a salary of $80,000—well below the typical pay of NYC's most booming industries. 

No wonder college grads who grew up in the city are returning from school only to move back home, unable to afford their own place even with a degree, as AM New York recently reported

All this isn't to say that New York isn't a great place for young people to live—check out our recent articles for more about the post-grad life in NYC—but we're raising an eyebrow at the idea that the city's many job opportunities mean it's the best in the country for those fresh out of school.