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20 best cities for summer jobs

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For young adults, the summer months are a time to earn some extra spending money and gain work experience. But across the country, not all summer gigs are created equal: State by state and even town by town, opportunities vary,  and paychecks for similar work can be vastly different due to minimum wage laws and cost of living.

WalletHub recently ranked 182 cities across the United States to determine the best and worst cities for summer jobs. For their findings, WalletHub focused on the youth job market, as well as social environment and affordability, creating a total score out of 100. They measured indicators including availability of summer jobs, labor-force participation rate of the population aged 16 to 24, minimum wage and commuter friendliness.

“It’s a great time to get a summer job, considering that a lot of places are still having labor shortages and may increase their compensation as a result,” Cassandra Happe, a WalletHub analyst, said in a release. “In addition to good pay and good work conditions, the best cities for summer jobs also have attractive features like short commute times and fun activities to engage in outside of work.”

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Columbia, Maryland, is the best city for summer jobs, having a high number of internships per capita, as well as the most number of jobs per capita that residents can get to within a 30-minute commute. Additionally, the city has one of the highest median incomes for part-time workers — nearly $26,900 per year — and more part-time job openings per capita than most other cities.

Other cities at the top of the list include Scottsdale, Arizona, and Rapid City, South Dakota. Scottsdale has the highest median income for part-time workers at nearly $34,000, as well as a good employment outlook, with 28% more employers expecting to add employees than cut jobs. Rapid City has the biggest “summer employment bump” in the country. 

The worst cities for summer jobs are Laredo, Texas; Memphis, Tennessee; and Baton Rouge, Louisiana. All three rank towards the bottom in the youth job market.

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When searching for work, applicants should consider housing options, location, cost of living and company culture. Keeping those elements in mind can lead to a positive work experience for the summer, and beyond. 

“The most common mistake young people make when taking a summer job or internship is focusing solely on the money they will make without researching other essential items, which results in a poor experience,” Brandon Street, director of career and professional development at Southern Utah University, said in a release. “It is challenging to have a great experience on a summer job [or] internship if a young person is away from home and does not consider all of these essential items.”

Read more about the 20 best cities for summer jobs below.

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