College graduates looking for a city to start their careers in can't do much better than landing in the District.

Washington trailed only Houston in Bloomberg BusinessWeek's new rankings, with D.C. leaping 17 spots from last year's position at 19.

The magazine used data on each city's average pay and unemployment from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, cost-of-living figures from the Council for Community and Economic Research and the number of employers posting entry-level jobs to rank 30 U.S. cities.

The top 10 House,Senate,President,White House,Conservatives,Liberals,Barack Obama,President,Democrats,Republicans,Libertarians,Mark Tapscott:26973199:26973199:Mark Tapscott.ÊÊÊ Houston 2.ÊÊÊWashington, D.C. Mark Tapscott:26973199:26973199:Mark Tapscott.ÊÊÊ Dallas 4.ÊÊÊ Atlanta 5.ÊÊÊ Austin, Texas 6.ÊÊÊ Minneapolis 7.ÊÊÊ Pittsburgh 8.ÊÊÊ Denver 9.ÊÊÊ Columbus, Ohio House,Senate,President,White House,Conservatives,Liberals,Barack Obama,President,Democrats,Republicans,Libertarians,Mark Tapscott:26973199:26973199:Mark Tapscott0.Ê Fort Worth, Texas Source: Bloomberg Businessweek

A comparison between the 2009 and 2010 lists shows D.C.'s relative stability in terms of number of employers looking for entry-level prospects, while other cities' numbers dipped. The BusinessWeek ranking cites "recession-proof" jobs as a reason for D.C.'s stability.

"It's the federal government and everything that results from it," said Katherine Stahl, executive director of the American University Career Center.

She said baby boomers who have held government jobs are entering retirement in large numbers, creating a surge of entry-level positions for graduates to pursue.

"The government is working on many different kinds of programs to get people through the system," she said.

Besides federal jobs, Stahl said D.C. has an advantage as a major hub for nonprofit work, scientific research and lobbying firms, all of which come with networking opportunities. Graduates are also attracted to internships that can open doors later on.

The director of George Mason University's Center for Regional Analysis, Stephen Fuller, said 10 percent of new jobs created in the country this year have been generated in the Washington area.