| July 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.
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
"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 www.erieri.com/pdf/affordability-index.pdf.
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.