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Grads: want a job? Move to D.C.

WASHINGTON — Graduates, get ready to pack your bags and head to D.C. — that is if you want to be in the best overall place among the country’s biggest cities to work and play.

WalletHub put each city through a battery of tests, ranging from average income and annual job growth, to housing costs, social scene and “mating opportunities,” and it says D.C. scores first overall.

In other words, don’t despair over the 15.5 percent average unemployment rate among Americans 18 to 29. There are places where the numbers don’t look so grim. In fact, WalletHub says, things are looking up in plenty of places.

“There is nevertheless reason for optimism among the graduating class of 2014, as well as the scores of young people who have become so disillusioned with the job market that they have given up their search for employment,” the group said in a release about the recent rankings.

“Not only do more employers plan to hire recent college grads this year, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, but hiring in general is also on the rise.”

While D.C. topped the list of 150 cities, Modesto, California, ranked last. Other cities clearly shine in the two primary categories — quality of life (Atlanta) and professional opportunities (Aurora, Colorado). As for the sub-categories, some results were clearly predictable; others, not so much:

  • Best Mating Opportunities: Washington, D.C.
  • Worst Mating Opportunities: Gilbert, Arizona
  • Highest Starting Salaries: San Jose, California
  • Lowest Starting Salaries: Lincoln, Nebraska
  • Most Leisure Establishments: Los Angeles
  • Fewest Leisure Establishments: Moreno Valley, California.

As for other cities in the region, Baltimore didn’t do so well, ranking 96th overall, 96th in quality of life and 82nd in professional opportunities. Others include Chesapeake, Virginia, 99th overall; Norfolk, Virginia, tied for 93rd overall; Newport News, Virginia, 80th overall; Virginia Beach, Virginia, 85th overall.

Find the full breakdown of the best and worst, on the WalletHub website.

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