Knoxville Best Place for Graduates

Communications Director

Kristin Farley
(865) 215-2589

400 Main St., Room 691
Knoxville, TN 37902

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Knoxville Best Place for Graduates

Posted: 07/10/2006
ERI Economic Research Institute has announced that Knoxville ranks as the best place in the United States for recent college graduates, according to ERI Economic Research Institute. The ranking is based on salary and cost of living data that shows that those entering the workforce have a higher standard of living in Knoxville than any other location.

  In Knoxville, salaries are 8% below the national average, but the cost of living is 22% below the national average, affording new graduates a significantly higher standard of living. As a comparison, college graduates living in Manhattan earn salaries that are 20% above the national average, but the cost of living is over twice the national average."With a vibrant downtown, numerous cultural, sporting and recreational activities, and unparalleled natural beauty, Knoxville has a lot to offer young people striking out on their own," Mayor Bill Haslam said. "The economy continues to attract and grow more jobs with higher salary making this a great city to start and build a career."ERI compared the cost of living in 261 US metro areas using its proprietary software.

Then ERI looked at local salaries for entry-level jobs in five fields requiring college degrees: accounting, law, teaching, sales, and engineering.ERI's affordability index ranks the most and least affordable cities for a college graduate (see graph below). The complete listing is available at ERI's study will allow recent graduates to determine the real buying power of a salary when choosing a job. The results show graduates that rent, utilities, taxes and transportation are keys to affordability and should be considered when choosing a place to start a career. For example, ERI's study demonstrates that an entry-level attorney in Boulder, Colorado will pay $10,900 more per year on rent and utilities, $2,000 more on taxes, $1,800 more on consumables, and $400 more on transportation than in Knoxville. That's over $15,000 more to purchase the same standard of living (based on renting a 700 sq. ft. apartment and owning one car worth $7,000 that's driven 15,000 miles per year). But an entry-level attorney can only expect to earn $3,800 more working in Boulder than in Knoxville. That is an $11,000 swing.

According to students in the University of Tennessee's MBA program, Knoxville also has a vibrant economy and the lifestyle qualities young, creative and driven people are looking for. "New innovations in nanotechnology at ORNL and all of the economic development going on in Oak Ridge and Knoxville translates into big opportunities for graduates here," says Laura Robertson Nolan a member of class of 2006. "Knoxville is not just a sleepy little manufacturing town - there really is a lot going on here. If I can make a contribution and be a part of the movement, it's worth it to stay in Knoxville and say 'I was a part of that.'""In Knoxville, the cost of living, attractive scenery, efficient roads and community activities are better than other communities," says Douglas Gordan, also a UT MBA student. "In particular, we enjoy bicycling on the greenways, we enjoy Sundown in the City, the Rossini Festival, Greek Fest and the Old City and Market Square and many of the area restaurants, book stores and theaters."ERI Economic Research Institute, Inc., is a compensation research firm specializing in salary survey and cost-of-living analyses. Based in Redmond, Washington, ERI provides compensation reports and software to 10,000 organizations worldwide.