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.

Third-worst city to start a career: Stockton, Calif.

Stockton is just 80 miles northeast of San Francisco and Silicon Valley, but it doesn't come close to having either area's high-tech economy.

The city has the 22nd-lowest number of tech jobs as a share of total employment, as well as the the fourth-worst jobless rate among big cities. Additionally, it places sixth from the bottom for entry-level jobs relative to population and 25th-worst for local job growth.

"Stockton may be relatively close to San Francisco, but the good jobs just aren't within commuting distance," Papadimitriou says.

The city has also suffered from high crime rates in recent years, while Inland California's housing bust sent local property values plummeting and foreclosures soaring. All of that ultimately helped drive Stockton's municipal government into bankruptcy in 2012.

Young people will also find underwhelming dating opportunities in town, as Stockton has the 15th-lowest percentage of locals with college degrees and 33rd-smallest number of  25- to 34-year-olds as a share of total population. The city also has the 13th-tiniest number of arts-and-leisure facilities on a per-capita basis.

If you're up for the challenge, Realtor.com lists some 800 Stockton residences for sale.

Second-worst city to start a career: Port St. Lucie, Fla.

Port St. Lucie sits on the Atlantic coast just 110 miles north of Miami, but the job market there has been anything but a day at the beach in recent years.

The Great Recession and South Florida housing bust slammed the community, sending foreclosure rates and unemployment sky high for a time.

Port St. Lucie has America's 16th-lowest median starting salaries these days, along with the 17th-worst level of entry-level jobs relative to population and the 22nd-poorest median-income growth.

As for the dating scene, young grads will find the second-lowest percentage of residents age 25 to 34 and the 21st-smallest per-capita number of locals with bachelor's degrees or higher.

If that doesn't make staging a successful date hard enough, Port St. Lucie also has the 24th-lowest level of arts-and-leisure facilities relative to population.

Those who still want to make the city their home port can find some 2,700 local property listings here.

Worst city to start a career: Modesto, Calif.

"Modesto" means "modest" in Spanish, and that's what recent grads who move there can expect to find -- at best -- in the way of career opportunities.

That's partly due to the fact that Modesto has the seventh-lowest level of tech jobs as a share to total employment even though the city is just some 90 miles east of San Francisco and Silicon Valley.

The community also suffers from a 13.6% local jobless rate -- the second-highest level among major U.S. cities. Grads who move there will also find the 16th-lowest number of entry-level jobs relative to population, as well as the 24th-lowest median starting salaries.

Those looking for dates will have to contend with the 16th-smallest percentage of locals with college degrees and the 28th-lowest level of 25- to 34-year-olds as a fraction of total population.

And even if you do find a date, Modesto offers the 27th-smallest number of arts-and-leisure sites on a per-capita basis.

If you're still at least modestly interested in moving to Modesto, Realtor.com lists some 600 homes there for sale.

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