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TheStreet Open House

5 Worst Cities to Start a Career In

BOSTON (TheStreet) -- Moving near your parents or a boyfriend or girlfriend might seem like a great idea to many of this year's college grads, but young people who want successful careers should avoid the five cities below like the plague.

"My advice to new grads is not to say: 'Oh, my friend George from college just moved to a certain city, so I'll move there, too.' Do that and you might be really shooting yourself in the foot in terms of career prospects," says Odysseas Papadimitriou of WalletHub, which recently named 2014's Best & Worst Cities to Start a Career.

WalletHub, which tracks banking rates and provides consumer reviews of personal-finance firms, rated America's 150 most-populous cities on a weighted scale of 18 economic and quality-of-life factors important to recent graduates. Measures ranged from local median starting salaries to how much the average two-bedroom apartment costs to rent.

Papadimitriou says the study aims to give young people "hard data" to help them decide where to start their careers.

"Everyone is different," he says. "Some recent graduates will be looking for tech jobs, while others might consider outdoor activities very important. We just want to make sure young people make informed decisions."

Look below to check out the five cities that ranked dead last in WalletHub's study (or click here to see the site's view of the best places to start a career).

Communities' scores on different criteria refer to how high or low they placed relative to other big U.S. cities.

Job-growth numbers reflect the percent of local jobs that a community added or lost between 2011 and 2012 after adjusting for population, while local unemployment rates are as of March. Each community's property listings come from Realtor.com, the National Association of Realtors' official home-listing site.

Fifth-worst city to start a career: Akron, Ohio

The Rubber City has yet to bounce back from the Midwest's longstanding industrial decline -- bad news for any grads who move there.

Also see: 5 Best Cars for 8 First Jobs

WalletHub found that Akron, some 40 miles south of Cleveland, lost 3.52% of local jobs between 2011 and 2012. That's the fourth-worst showing among America's 150 largest cities.

Akron also saw its number of residents fall 0.11% between 2010 and 2012 -- the seventh-worst showing for any city studied, as well as a bad sign for any local economy's long-term prospects.

Additionally, the city ranks 12th-worst for tech jobs as a share of local employment, 22nd-lowest for median starting salaries and 26th-worst for the odds that locals who start out poor will become rich.

Recent grads who move to Akron can also expect to have trouble finding a date. That's because the city has the 20th-lowest number of 25- to 34-year-old residents as a share of total population, as well as the 20th-smallest percentage of locals who have bachelor's degrees or higher.

If you're still game to give Akron a try, Realtor.com lists some 2,200 local properties for sale. Click here to check them out.

Fourth-worst city to start a career: San Bernardino, Calif.

The first McDonald's opened up in San Bernardino in 1940, and young grads who move to this city 60 miles east of Los Angeles should worry that it's the kind of place they'll end up working.

A toxic mix of crime, poverty and home foreclosures has hit San Bernardino over the years, leaving lots of economic problems in its wake.

The local government declared bankruptcy in 2012, while San Bernardino trailed only Detroit in the 2010 Census as the city with the highest percentage of residents who live below the poverty line.

WalletHub also found that San Bernardino comes in dead last among major cities for tech jobs as a share of total employment, and also suffers from America's 11th-highest jobless rate. The community also ranks 14th from the bottom for job growth and offers the 32nd-worst median starting incomes.

Class of 2014 members will also find limited dating opportunities, as San Bernardino has the second-lowest share of locals who have at least a bachelor's degree and the 35th-smallest share of 25- to 34-year-olds relative to total population.

Also see: 5 Professions Most Likely to Make You a Homeowner

You won't have many places to take your date, either, because San Bernardino ranks eighth from the bottom on a per-capita basis for arts-and-leisure establishments.

Recent grads who want to move to San Bernardino anyway can find some 900 local homes listed for sale here.

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