Best Cities for Millennial Job Seekers in Washington

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Best Cities for Millennial Job Seekers in Washington

Plentiful jobs. High salaries. Affordable rents. For millennials looking to launch their careers, Washington’s King County is the place to be.

Six of the 10 best cities for younger, or millennial, job seekers in Washington are in the county that is home to Seattle, based on a new NerdWallet analysis.

From October to November last year — in just one month — some 6,800 new jobs were added in the Seattle-Bellevue area. The jobs, ranging from finance to software development, helped cut the unemployment rate for that area to about 2% lower than the statewide jobless rate in November, according to The Seattle Times.

Here’s a look at the factors we used in our analysis:

1. Are there jobs in the area? We looked at the unemployment rate in 2013 and the average worker payroll salary in 2012, using the most recent U.S. Census Bureau figures. We determined the average worker’s salary with the census bureau’s payroll by ZIP code. Lower unemployment rates and higher payroll salaries scored positively.

2. Can you afford to rent near work? Using census data, we measured a city’s median rent, including utilities, to determine if an area has reasonable rent costs. Lower costs resulted in a positive score for a city.

3. Do other millennials live there? We determined that millennials are workers ages 18-33, which is the definition used in a March 2014 Pew Research Center report. We used two of the census bureau’s brackets, ages 20-24 and 25-34, to create a millennial group for our analysis. From this, we found the percentage of millennials in a city’s 2013 population and the growth of millennial residents from 2010 to 2013. High percentages received positive scores.

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Our analysis revealed these trends:

Fortune 500 companies power growth. Among the eight Fortune 500 companies headquartered in Washington, including Amazon, Costco and Microsoft, seven are in cities on our top 10 list. These multibillion-dollar companies boost overall employment numbers and economic activity, creating opportunities for younger workers.

Technology and science rule. From software companies to nuclear research labs, Washington’s top cities for millennials are especially appealing for job seekers with STEM — science, technology, engineering and math — backgrounds.

To see the full data set, click here.

Best cities for millennial job seekers in Washington

1. Redmond

Home to the headquarters of Microsoft and Nintendo, Redmond boasts the highest average annual working wages in the state — $123,152, more than double the state’s average of $42,229. The low unemployment rate of 4.4% makes this technology hub a promising place for young job seekers.

2. Richland

Richland — along with Pasco and Kennewick — is part of the Tri-Cities in the state’s southeast. Richland is home to the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, one of the nation’s 10 U.S. Department of Energy labs. The unemployment rate here is 4.1%, much lower than the state average of 6.0%, and the median rent of $881 is third lowest in our top 10.

3. Bellevue

The wages of a worker living in Bellevue are a robust $77,376 per resident, second behind its neighbor Redmond. The city boasts an unemployment rate of 4.9%, lower than the state average of 6.0%. Major employers include T-Mobile, Expedia and Paccar in this city that features a mix of suburbia and wooded trails.

4. Seattle

In the state’s largest city, millennials make up a whopping 30% of the population. Part tech hub, part college town and part tourism center, the median rent reflects its popularity at $1,091, which is close to the state average of $1,023. Apart from the Boeing Co. and Microsoft, top employers include Amazon and the nonprofit Group Health Cooperative.

5. Issaquah

The average worker’s wages of $76,784 — paired with an unemployment rate of 4.5% — makes the home to Costco’s headquarters an appealing place for young people starting their careers. The city promotes the arts by hosting free outdoor concerts and downtown ArtWalks in the summer.

6. Kirkland

With a 38.90% growth in the millennial population from 2010 to 2013, this lakeside city is an emerging hot spot for younger people with its unemployment rate of 5.2%, another place on our list that’s below the state average.

7. Wenatchee

Among the state’s best cities for millennials, this quickly growing city east of the Cascade mountains has our list’s lowest median rent of $777. The agricultural community, nicknamed the Apple Capital of the World by some, is now becoming home to data centers and tech companies.

8. West Richland

The economy of this Tri-Cities neighbor is closely linked to residents who work at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. The city saw a 43.43% increase in young adults from 2010 to 2013 — more growth in the millennial population than any other city in our top 10.

9. Anacortes

Two oil refineries are located in this small city on Fidalgo Island, where tourists catch the state ferry to the San Juan Islands. From 2010-2013, the millennial population grew 15%, and the unemployment rate is 3.8%, the lowest on our list.

10. Renton

In Renton, wages for the average worker are $61,121 a year — higher than the state average of $42,229 — and the median rent stands at a middle-of-the-road $1,134. Here, many residents work at Boeing, which builds 737 airliners at a local factory.

 

Check out this interactive map of our top 10 cities for millennial job seekers in Washington. Click on each icon to see the city’s overall score.

 

Top 20 best cities for millennial job seekers in Washington

City Unemployment rate
in 2013
Average worker payroll
in 2012
Millennial population
in 2013
Percent of millennials
in 2013
Millennial growth 2010-2013 Median rent in 2013 Overall score
1 Redmond 4.4% $123,152 15,287 27.54% -0.84% $1,402 71.44
2 Richland 4.1% $63,705 9,395 18.82% 8.19% $881 55.27
3 Bellevue 4.9% $77,376 29,624 22.93% 10.47% $1,395 51.84
4 Seattle 5.0% $62,215 187,477 30.01% 7.66% $1,091 51.73
5 Issaquah 4.5% $76,784 6,653 21.05% 7.64% $1,408 51.36
6 Kirkland 5.2% $61,570 17,640 23.26% 39.80% $1,362 50.18
7 Wenatchee 5.1% $42,254 7,267 22.50% 20.16% $777 48.60
8 West Richland 4.7% $32,417 2,010 16.34% 43.47% $795 47.55
9 Anacortes 3.8% $45,945 2,520 15.87% 15.07% $1,001 46.92
10 Renton 6.2% $61,121 22,861 24.42% 6.44% $1,134 45.94
11 Vashon 4.2% $32,649 1,076 9.67% 40.65% $843 45.83
12 Everett 7.6% $59,476 27,391 26.36% 4.78% $943 45.29
13 Enumclaw 5.5% $36,031 2,279 20.36% 35.41% $885 45.26
14 Kennewick 4.7% $35,726 16,735 22.32% 10.72% $782 45.07
15 Kent 6.4% $49,408 26,084 22.54% 21.46% $1,001 44.89
16 Bremerton 6.4% $37,485 13,116 33.97% 18.00% $865 44.56
17 Cheney 7.8% $34,362 4,756 43.92% 9.89% $671 44.32
18 Lynden 4.2% $34,734 2,275 18.44% 14.15% $857 44.18
19 Pasco 6.2% $36,494 15,349 24.15% 14.61% $749 43.44
20 Walla Walla 5.2% $35,698 6,916 21.77% -0.66% $712 42.91

Methodology

The overall score for each place was derived from the following sources:
1. Millennials as a percentage of the population is 10% of the overall score. The population figures — ages 20-24 and ages 25-34 — are from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2013 American Community Survey, data set DP05.

2. The millennial population growth from 2010 to 2013 makes up 10% of the overall score. The figures are from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2013 ACS, data set DP05.

3. The unemployment rate by city is from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2013 ACS, data set DP03. It is 20% of the overall score.

4. Average worker payroll is 40% of the overall score. The figures are calculated based on the U.S. Census Bureau’s ZIP Code Business Statistics, data set CB1200CZ11. Figures from multiple ZIP codes within a city were combined and averaged.

5. Median gross rent is 20% of the score. The figures are from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2013 ACS, data set DP04.

NerdWallet analyzed 71 places — cities, towns and census-designated places — for this study. Only places with a population over 10,000 were included. We excluded 41 places that didn’t have payroll figures and two that didn’t have complete unemployment data.

Best cities for millennial job seekers in Washington (full rankings)

City Unemployment rate
in 2013
Average worker payroll
in 2012
Millennial population
in 2013
Percentage of millennials
in 2013
Millennial growth 2010-2013 Median rent
in 2013
Overall score
1 Redmond 4.4% $123,152 15,287 27.54% -0.84% $1,402 71.44
2 Richland 4.1% $63,705 9,395 18.82% 8.19% $881 55.27
3 Bellevue 4.9% $77,376 29,624 22.93% 10.47% $1,395 51.84
4 Seattle 5.0% $62,215 187,477 30.01% 7.66% $1,091 51.73
5 Issaquah 4.5% $76,784 6,653 21.05% 7.64% $1,408 51.36
6 Kirkland 5.2% $61,570 17,640 23.26% 39.80% $1,362 50.18
7 Wenatchee 5.1% $42,254 7,267 22.50% 20.16% $777 48.60
8 West Richland 4.7% $32,417 2,010 16.34% 43.47% $795 47.55
9 Anacortes 3.8% $45,945 2,520 15.87% 15.07% $1,001 46.92
10 Renton 6.2% $61,121 22,861 24.42% 6.44% $1,134 45.94
11 Vashon 4.2% $32,649 1,076 9.67% 40.65% $843 45.83
12 Everett 7.6% $59,476 27,391 26.36% 4.78% $943 45.29
13 Enumclaw 5.5% $36,031 2,279 20.36% 35.41% $885 45.26
14 Kennewick 4.7% $35,726 16,735 22.32% 10.72% $782 45.07
15 Kent 6.4% $49,408 26,084 22.54% 21.46% $1,001 44.89
16 Bremerton 6.4% $37,485 13,116 33.97% 18.00% $865 44.56
17 Cheney 7.8% $34,362 4,756 43.92% 9.89% $671 44.32
18 Lynden 4.2% $34,734 2,275 18.44% 14.15% $857 44.18
19 Pasco 6.2% $36,494 15,349 24.15% 14.61% $749 43.44
20 Walla Walla 5.2% $35,698 6,916 21.77% -0.66% $712 42.91
21 Mountlake Terrace 6.0% $52,114 4,930 24.46% 5.75% $1,124 42.70
22 Spokane 6.8% $40,360 51,403 24.54% 4.02% $733 42.15
23 Bellingham 6.7% $38,624 27,258 33.41% 8.71% $890 42.14
24 Edmonds 4.6% $43,588 6,233 15.53% 4.95% $1,052 41.28
25 Port Angeles 6.5% $36,069 3,988 20.88% 3.67% $689 40.80
26 Camas 5.6% $54,409 2,685 13.43% -12.23% $1,036 40.14
27 Ferndale 7.5% $44,095 2,534 21.54% 7.19% $830 40.13
28 Bothell 6.2% $59,870 6,622 19.35% -6.75% $1,245 39.93
29 Olympia 6.3% $38,084 11,998 25.35% 6.75% $923 39.88
30 Longview 7.8% $45,988 6,518 17.78% -1.36% $704 39.87
31 Woodinville 4.0% $47,405 1,849 16.67% -14.40% $1,175 39.22
32 Auburn 7.3% $46,219 14,780 20.57% 10.01% $983 39.16
33 Port Orchard 5.1% $29,568 3,071 25.05% 15.41% $1,044 38.60
34 Mukilteo 4.8% $49,020 3,211 15.70% 1.52% $1,288 38.53
35 Sunnyside 7.9% $34,113 3,629 22.77% 6.61% $648 38.26
36 Yakima 7.2% $35,750 20,333 22.08% 3.06% $747 38.19
37 Bainbridge Island 4.6% $41,247 2,138 9.26% 5.27% $1,096 37.96
38 Tacoma 7.5% $41,770 48,343 24.06% 5.50% $925 37.92
39 Vancouver 8.0% $44,695 35,887 21.87% 4.49% $898 37.64
40 Moses Lake 7.2% $38,194 4,337 20.89% -3.28% $759 37.61
41 Lacey 6.1% $36,041 10,592 24.45% 14.02% $1,107 37.42
42 Mount Vernon 6.9% $36,803 7,234 22.56% 5.71% $899 37.38
43 East Wenatchee 5.8% $30,959 2,646 19.91% -2.47% $791 37.32
44 Federal Way 6.7% $40,659 20,006 22.05% 4.81% $1,023 37.10
45 Monroe 4.5% $35,574 3,832 21.99% -4.20% $1,124 37.04
46 Lynnwood 6.1% $36,575 8,233 22.80% 1.27% $993 36.93
47 Arlington 6.7% $36,350 3,525 19.43% 14.15% $982 36.91
48 Aberdeen 8.4% $38,733 3,300 19.78% 3.61% $711 36.62
49 Mercer Island 3.4% $50,405 2,636 11.31% 9.74% $1,656 36.58
50 Oak Harbor 6.1% $29,814 6,602 29.77% 5.85% $1,074 35.34
51 Kenmore 5.3% $38,505 3,770 18.01% 2.17% $1,205 35.01
52 Puyallup 7.1% $38,302 8,506 22.55% 4.04% $1,040 34.84
53 Graham 5.3% $31,281 4,328 18.35% 18.67% $1,214 34.76
54 Centralia 8.5% $34,699 3,735 22.49% 7.30% $806 34.42
55 Silverdale 6.3% $30,251 4,979 25.18% 8.43% $1,122 33.46
56 Lakewood 8.4% $31,233 14,371 24.46% 1.78% $820 32.53
57 University Place 8.1% $39,500 5,748 18.24% -5.60% $924 32.07
58 Spanaway 6.0% $28,025 6,498 22.66% 9.30% $1,182 31.74
59 Kelso 11.4% $32,239 3,153 26.54% 25.47% $751 31.44
60 Bonney Lake 5.2% $28,125 3,777 21.35% 12.98% $1,351 31.16
61 Mill Creek 4.3% $29,822 3,070 16.65% 0.75% $1,334 31.02
62 Grandview 9.9% $35,057 2,222 20.40% 8.07% $796 30.91
63 Battle Ground 7.9% $33,492 3,632 20.41% -5.64% $934 30.43
64 Marysville 7.3% $31,847 13,433 21.92% 7.00% $1,150 30.12
65 Washougal 10.8% $39,115 2,850 19.90% 31.34% $1,071 29.66
66 Sammamish 3.2% $34,106 5,386 11.28% -0.65% $1,668 28.20
67 Lake Stevens 6.3% $29,368 5,563 19.38% -1.26% $1,242 27.87
68 Snoqualmie 4.4% $43,859 1,798 16.22% -2.39% $1,830 27.63
69 Maple Valley 5.7% $33,268 3,762 16.04% -0.03% $1,446 26.86

 

Seattle, Washington, image via iStock.