Where the Jobs Are

Wondering where the big new job markets are? Some cities might surprise you..

NEW YORK (AP) -- College graduates seeking a job should heed an ancient piece of advice and "go west," according to a Chicago outplacement firm.

Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc. said in a new report that job growth is fastest in Midwestern, Mountain West and Southern cities, with New Orleans, Jacksonville, N.C. and Dubuque, Iowa at the top of its list.

Rounding out the list are Greenville, N.C.; Iowa City, Iowa; Lawrence, Kan.; Boise, Idaho; Salt Lake City, Utah; Phoenix, Ariz.; Austin, Texas; and Boulder, Colo.

Six of the 11 cities on the list have populations under 100,000, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Phoenix is the largest of those cities, with an estimated population of 1.5 million in 2005, while Jacksonville, Dubuque, Greenville and Iowa City all have fewer than 70,000 residents.

"It refutes the notion that ... all the big cities are drawing the good jobs," said John Challenger, chief executive of Challenger, Gray & Christmas. "Graduates don't necessarily need to go to the big city to create a strong foundation for their career."

Living in those areas could present a problem; however, as the states with the quickest job growth also have some of the fastest-rising home prices. Utah had the largest home-price growth in the nation in 2006, with Idaho third and Arizona ninth, according to the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight.

Students who earn a bachelors degree will be more employable than ever. The majority of college graduates that have applied for full time employent have accepted a job according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers.

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