The 10 Best Cities for Young People to Find Jobs
By LEAH KONEN, The Fiscal Times
For recent college grads, the future may seem bleak. In 2010, employment among young adults was at the lowest rate since World War II. The average college graduate carries more than $25,000 in debt, and millions of them are trading sexy dreams of big city lofts and office happy hours for a not-so-sexy reality of cruising job sites on Mom and Dad’s couch.
If you’re a young person looking for a job, which cities are best? Though it varies from industry to industry, certain cities have shown markedly low unemployment for young people in recent years and have the companies and culture that makes them a hotspot for college grads. We looked at unemployment data from the Bureau of Labor Statistic’s 2010 population survey, the latest data available, for 25-34-year-olds, as well as 20-24-year-olds, in 116 of the country’s largest metro areas, to find the 10 best cities for young people to find jobs — and some of them might just surprise you.
10. San Antonio, TX
They say that everything’s bigger in Texas, and in San Antonio, the job market certainly is. The unemployment rate for the San-Antonio-New Braunfels area is just 6.6 percent, with the city at a low 7 percent. The Milken Institute recently named San Antonio the nation’s best-performing city in its ranking of 200 metro areas, thanks in part to extensive oil drilling projects in Eagle Ford Shale — which in 2010, generated 6,800 full-time jobs and $311 million in salaries and benefits, according to researchers at the University of Texas at San Antonio. This month, Boeing also announced a plan to move aircraft and maintenance work from Wichita to San Antonio in 2013.
9. Portland, OR
All you have to do to see that Portland is hip is turn on the TV — IFC’s recent hit, Portlandia, paints the city as a haven for hipsters, artists and creatives.
Startups are booming here — Fast Company named the “Silicon Forest” as one of the best places to launch a startup in 2010, and the city itself is a trusty friend to startups, giving them city-sponsored events, like the Portland Incubator Experiments, to help draw investors. We’re not surprised that this hip city added 12,000 jobs from November 2010 to November 2011 and has an unemployment rate of just 6.5 percent for 25-34-year-olds.
8. Honolulu, HI
(editors note: HECK YES!)
It seems that Honolulu is home to much more than just beaches and hula skirts. According to the Hawaii Tourism Authority, visitor spending rose 15.6 percent to 1.1 billion in October, which is good news for Hawaii’s largest city and state capital, home to top companies like Hawaiian Airlines and the University of Hawaii. The unemployment rate for 25-34-year-olds is just over 6 percent, and at 9.3 percent for 20-24-year-olds, it’s the 9th best city for that category, as well.
7. New Orleans, LA
Post-Katrina, the “Big Easy” has built an impressive hub for jobs, with the unemployment rate at just 5.5 percent in the New Orleans-Metairie-Kenner area and just 5.9 percent in the city itself. Private companies like Tulane University and Pan-American Life Insurance help keep the economy going, but it’s the city’s tourist appeal that really brings jobs.
<Yes, the tourist appeal
In 2010, New Orleans hosted 8.3 million visitors, the most since the flooding. And the recent return of three major cruise ships promises to keep business afloat. The city added 9,000 new jobs in 2011, and major retailers like Walmart and Costco are planning to open new locations there in 2012.
6. San Francisco, CA
When you think of cities popular for young people, San Francisco of course comes to mind. A cornerstone of startup culture, the city is the birthplace of tech favorites like Twitter, Yelp, Dropbox, Wikipedia, and StumbleUpon, and added 18,000 jobs between November 2010 and November 2011.
Plus, a new program, the Civic Startup Accelerator is working to pair top startup companies with City Hall to get new and innovative technology worked into the government sector — and famed angel investor Ron Conway has already agreed to advise the program. It’s no surprise that the unemployment for San Francisco County is 5.4 percent for 25-34-year-olds.
5. Washington, D.C.
(Editor’s Note: Home)
It’s no surprise that the nation’s capital is an epicenter for jobs. Between government, tourism, finance and lobbying, there’s no shortage of industries. But much of the growth is happening in the private sector — the Washington Post’s annual list of top companies in the area, the Post 200, is dominated by defense companies, government contractors, information organizations, hotel companies and financial firms, with names like Geico and Hilton Worldwide topping the list. These firms and others give the Washington-Arlington-Alexandria area an unemployment rate of just 5.4 percent for 25-34-year-olds.
4. Boston, MA
This historic haven is also a haven for jobs, with the unemployment rate at a cool 4.8 percent in the Boston-Cambridge-Quincy area and just 5 percent in the city proper. With Harvard, one of the nation’s top universities, employing about 18,000 people in the area, it’s no surprise, but there are plenty of businesses booming from technology, like iRobot, a robotics company most famous for Roomba, to the environment — Clean Harbors, Inc. was ranked by the Boston Globe as a top company — it was instrumental in containing the BP oil spill. The area added over 50,000 jobs in 2011, and the passage of a new casino bill promises to bring even more jobs to the area.
3. Fort Worth, TX
Dallas’s neighbor has a seriously sunny economic disposition, with an impressive 4.7 percent unemployment rate for 25-34-year-olds in the city and 5.1 percent in the Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington area. In 2011, the area added over 57,000 jobs and in 2009, Site Selection magazine named Dallas-Fort Worth the country’s third most active market for corporate relocations. The area is home to the corporate headquarters of a number of household names, including Blue Cross Blue Shield, Radio Shack, Pier 1 Imports, and Motorola. Of course, it’s also home to American Airlines, which declared bankruptcy in November.
2. Tulsa, OK
It looks like this famed oil capital is continuing to see prosperity. Tulsa beat the national average by nearly 6 points, clocking in at just 4.5 percent unemployment for 25-34-year-olds — and just 6.2 percent in the greater area. Privately-funded local initiatives have helped put this city at the top. The city added over 10,000 jobs in 2011, landing itself on our recent list of 10 Best Cities to Find a Job, and more than 4,000 of those jobs pay an annual income of $50,000 or more, according to the Tulsa Metro Chamber. Add to that extremely low overhead. Due to low rent, energy costs, and taxes, the city is attractive to businesses in aerospace, energy and health care.
and number one is……..
1. Jacksonville, FL
This military-centric North Florida city might not be the first one that springs to mind, but its low unemployment rate of 2.7 percent in the city and 3.2 percent in the greater area for 25-34-year-olds makes it a clear winner (that’s more than 7 percent below the national rate of 9.4 percent for that age group). The city also had the eighth lowest unemployment for 20-24 year-olds (8.3 percent). Why so many jobs? Three naval air stations supply a steady number of noncivilian jobs, which trickles down to the rest of the community. Plus, the city is home to the largest Toyota distributor in the U.S., and has even seen a recent renaissance in filmmaking, satisfying those creative types.
LEAH KONEN via The Fiscal Times
Posted by Leon Langford| Bright Futura Columnist