May 26, 2023 - News

Spokane's a better place for new grads than Seattle, index finds

A brightly colored postcard that says Greetings From SPOKANE with Spokane in capitalized block letters that feature images of the city.

A vintage postcard from featuring scenes from Spokane. Photo by Found Image Press/Corbis via Getty Images

Spokane far outranks Seattle among best places for new college grads, coming in second in the nation based on rent-to-income ratio, average salary for recent college graduates, job openings and the share of the population in their 20s, a recent Zillow index found.

Driving the news: Seattle was in 56th place in Zillow's ranking this year.

Zoom in: Spokane's ranking highlights how markets with a smaller population, relatively affordable rents and lots of career prospects may offer a better quality of life for young adults, writes Anushna Prakash, an economic data analyst at Zillow.

  • Typical rent is $1,563 in Spokane compared to $2,223 in Seattle and jobs are plentiful, according to Zillow.
  • According to job postings on Indeed, there were 154 advertised positions in the Spokane region and 86 in the Seattle metropolitan area on May 18.

Zoom out: All of the top markets for college grads have rent prices that allow more financial breathing room, according to the Zillow index.

  • The No. 1 best market for new grads is Colorado Springs, Colorado with Des Moines, Iowa; Phoenix; and Buffalo, New York, rounding out the top five in that order.
  • Portland came in at ninth.

The big picture: Seattle was one of only three metro areas where job openings decreased since early 2020 and it ranks near the bottom for pandemic-era job growth — marking part of the reason the city fared so poorly compared to peer cities in the Pacific Northwest, Jeff Tucker, a senior economist at Zillow, told Axios.

  • Job openings are down about 11% in Seattle, only better than the 12% decline in San Francisco and 16% drop in San Jose — all of which reflect the recent slowdown in local hiring led by the cooling tech industry.

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