11. Ohio

Total Score: 48.97 │ Job Market Rank: 40 │ Economic Environment Rank: 31
(Photo: Shutterstock)

10. Montana

Total Score: 48.93 │ Job Market Rank: 38 │ Economic Environment Rank: 33
Montana presents job-searchers with a dilemma: It’s in 46th place nationally for the lowest monthly average starting salary, but it also has the third shortest time spent commuting and the second highest job satisfaction in the country. (Photo: Shutterstock)

9. North Carolina

Total Score: 48.85 │ Job Market Rank: 34 │ Economic Environment Rank: 42
(Photo: Shutterstock)

8. Pennsylvania

Total Score: 46.56 │ Job Market Rank: 26 │ Economic Environment Rank: 49
(Photo: Shutterstock)

7. Arkansas

Total Score: 45.30 │ Job Market Rank: 42 │ Economic Environment Rank: 44
(Photo: Shutterstock)


6. Alabama

Total Score: 44.36 │ Job Market Rank: 44 │ Economic Environment Rank: 45
(Photo: Shutterstock)

5. Alaska

Total Score: 44.19 │ Job Market Rank: 50 │ Economic Environment Rank: 6
Alaska not only ranks 50th in the country for job opportunities, but ranks No. 46 in employment growth, 48th in monthly average starting salary and 50th for unemployment nationally. Oh, and be prepared to work longer despite all those disadvantages, since it’s also 50th for the longest time spent working. (Photo: Shutterstock)

4. Louisiana

Total Score: 43.91 │ Job Market Rank: 47 │ Economic Environment Rank: 32
Louisiana’s 47th place finish in job opportunities is coupled with a two-way tie for 47th place with New Mexico for unemployment and being in 46th place for the longest time spent working. Oh, and it’s also in 47th place for job satisfaction. (Photo: Shutterstock)

3. Kentucky

Total Score: 37.90 │ Job Market Rank: 43 │ Economic Environment Rank: 50
(Photo: Shutterstock)

2. Mississippi

Total Score: 37.15 │ Job Market Rank: 48 │ Economic Environment Rank: 46
Mississippi is in 48th place for job opportunities, and is also tied with Arizona for 45th place in unemployment. (Photo: Shutterstock)


1. West Virginia

Total Score: 34.83 │ Job Market Rank: 49 │ Economic Environment Rank: 48
West Virginia finished in 49th place for job opportunities. (Photo: Shutterstock)

(Related: 11 Best States for Jobs)

New college grads in search of the perfect career launch might be champing at the bit to find a new place to live and an atmosphere ripe with professional opportunities — but if they don’t keep doing their homework, they’re liable to end up in a place with a job they hate or that lasts a pitifully short time, or where they just can’t make it on their salaries because the cost of living is too high or the commuting costs are killing them.

To help them avoid such career-ending errors, WalletHub pulled 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 to see if it could categorize all 50 states based not just on job opportunities but also livability.

It evaluated everything from the length of the work week (after all, it’s no fun if there’s no life after 5) and the number of jobs a worker has to juggle to make ends meet to how strong nondiscrimination laws and employee benefit offerings are, as well as more obscure statistics such as a state’s statute on hiring based on salary history and the risk of automation doing away with employment.

Graduates pursuing that first big job and move might want to check out the 11 states above, which don’t score well either overall or in the two categories of data: job market ranking and economic environment ranking. While doing so doesn’t guarantee that their final choice will be perfect and successful, it could improve their odds.

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