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Cost of moving: Two burgeoning job markets with very different costs of living

Forbes ranks Washington D.C. as the No.1 job market in 2012, but the cost of living may be too high for recent grads.

Forbes ranks Washington D.C. as the No.1 job market in 2012, but the cost of living may be too high for recent grads.

Graduation is right around the corner for many college students around the country. And while some may take a few weeks off to go hiking through Europe, and some might simply head back to mom and dad's house for a while, many will be packing up and moving to a new city to find a job. These grads will want to consider two factors that are always important in determining where to move: What is the job market like, and what will the cost of living be?

Recently, Forbes took a look at the coming trends in the U.S. job market and picked some of the top spots in the country for gainful employment. Topping the list of lucrative markets is our nation's capital, Washington, D.C.

As the seat of the federal government, Washington is home to a significant portion of the nation's lawmakers, and alongside them tens of thousands of lobbyists, contractors, military officials and their support staff. As if that weren't enough, Forbes predicts the city will add more than a quarter-million new jobs between now and 2016.

But young job-seekers might find their moving budget stretched, since Washington is consistently ranked among the most expensive cities in the country. A 2011 list from financial firm Kiplinger placed the city at No. 6, citing average home prices of $670,000 and average rent for a two-bedroom apartment topping $1,700 - more than double the national average.

The No. 2 spot on Forbes' list of burgeoning job markets is about as far-removed from the federal government beltway as you can get. Des Moines, Iowa, with its ever-growing agriculture technology sector and nearby manufacturing plants, is expected to add more than 461,000 jobs in the next few years. Even at the height of the recession, unemployment in this Heartland metropolis never rose much above 6 percent, Forbes points out.

Recent college grads, especially those thinking of starting a family, might find Des Moines a much more appealing prospect than other, busier areas. In the last couple of years, renowned real estate market analysts Bert Sperling on his Best Places website has ranked Des Moines as the No. 2 most secure large metro area, the No. 6 city to relocate to and the No. 35 city in the U.S. for block parties.

The cost of living in Des Moines is slightly lower than the national average, as well. According to the Greater Des Moines Partnership, residents can expect to save roughly 10 percent on groceries, transportation and utilities over the rest of the nation.