11. Nebraska
Total Score: 60.33 │ Job Market Rank: 12 │ Economic Environment Rank: 20

Those who hate to sit in traffic will be happy to hear that Nebraska has the fifth shortest time spent commuting. (Photo: Shutterstock)
10. Rhode Island
Total Score: 60.79 │ Job Market Rank: 17 │ Economic Environment Rank: 7

Rhode Island, for its part, is tied with Oregon for the second shortest time spent working. (Photo: Shutterstock)
9. California
Total Score: 60.84 │ Job Market Rank: 7 │ Economic Environment Rank: 25

Sadly, California ranks 46th in the nation for median annual income and for the longest time spent commuting — but on the flip side, it’s tied for fifth place with Michigan for the shortest time spent working (probably because workers are sitting in traffic somewhere watching the minutes tick by). (Photo: Shutterstock)
8. New Jersey
Total Score: 62.92 │ Job Market Rank: 28 │ Economic Environment Rank: 2

The commuting situation is even worse in New Jersey, as anybody who’s ever driven the Garden State Parkway or the New Jersey Turnpike can tell you — the state came in in 48th place for the longest time spent commuting. It also ranks 48th for employment growth. But — and this is a big one — it ranks fourth for highest median annual income. (Photo: Shutterstock)
7. Delaware
Total Score: 63.83 │ Job Market Rank: 6 │ Economic Environment Rank: 14

Here’s a surprise: Despite its place on this list, Delaware ranks 50th in the nation for job satisfaction. (Photo: Shutterstock)

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6. Minnesota
Total Score: 64.12 │ Job Market Rank: 4 │ Economic Environment Rank: 15

Think Minnesota isn’t quite what you’d envisioned? You might be convinced when you hear that it ranks third for highest median annual income. Just be sure to pack your woolies. (Photo: Shutterstock)
5. New Hampshire
Total Score: 64.40 │ Job Market Rank: 5 │ Economic Environment Rank: 9

New Hampshire is tops in the nation for job opportunities and in a six-way tie for first place with Hawaii, Iowa, North Dakota, Vermont and Idaho for having the lowest unemployment rate. (Photo: Shutterstock)
4. Vermont
Total Score: 64.73 │ Job Market Rank: 3 │ Economic Environment Rank: 18

Vermont is in fourth place for job opportunities, but be warned: It’s also at the bottom of the list — 50th place — for lowest monthly average starting salary. Still, the odds of keeping that job are good, since it’s also in that six-way tie for first place for the lowest unemployment rate — and it’s fourth in the country for job satisfaction. (Photo: Shutterstock)
3. Colorado
Total Score: 66.82 │ Job Market Rank: 2 │ Economic Environment Rank: 12

While Colorado as a whole didn’t stand out in either a good or bad way on these particular criteria, WalletHub did find that Colorado Springs and Denver both ranked in the top 15 cities for jobs — the former in fifth place and the latter in 13th. (Photo: Shutterstock)
2. Washington
Total Score: 68.26 │ Job Market Rank: 11 │ Economic Environment Rank: 1

Washington boasts the second highest monthly average starting salary in the nation. (Photo: Shutterstock)

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1. Massachusetts
Total Score: 71.88 │ Job Market Rank: 1 │ Economic Environment Rank: 16

Massachusetts is ranked highest for employment growth, as well as in fourth place for the shortest time spent working — although it’s also in 47th place for the longest time spent commuting. (Photo: Shutterstock)

(Related: 12 Best US Cities to Start a Career)

It’s that time again: job-hunting season. Newly minted grads — except, perhaps, for those pursuing a bit of summer vacation before plunging headfirst into the working world — are scouring websites in search of the best possible opportunities in their chosen fields, and probably wondering as they do so where the best opportunities are located and whether they’ll like their new homes if they follow employment to a new place to live.

They’re also probably hoping to escape possible serious mistakes in choosing a job, or a place, that stifles rather than encourages career growth and contentment in their new surroundings.

With that in mind, WalletHub compiled a list of 33 essential criteria that can determine whether the job market, or the regional amenities, are positives or negatives. It then scored all 50 states on these indicators of job-market strength, opportunity and a healthy economy, including employment growth, median annual income and average commute time.

Using data from the U.S. Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Indeed.com, Gallup-Healthways, United Health Foundation, Brandwatch, The Pew Charitable Trusts, National Conference of State Legislatures, Chegg, Council for Community and Economic Research, Tax Credits for Workers and Their Families, ITEP, Movement Advancement Project, The Brookings Institution, Industry Dive, Oxfam America, Glassdoor, The Center for Neighborhood Technology and its own research, WalletHub organized its findigs broadly under two headings: job market and economic environment.

Then all subcategories, from job security to employer-based retirement access and benefits to industry variety, underemployment, share of workers living in poverty, average starting salary, average commute time and commuter-friendly jobs, were ranked and points assigned, all of which then went into the overall score and the ranking in both categories.

Check out the gallery for the 11 states that came out on top when it comes to jobs.

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