> Unemployment rate ages 20-24: 18.3%
> Total unemployment rate: 9.2%
> Total no. unemployed ages 20-24: 54,000
> Pct. less than high school diploma: 16.5%
For Tennessee’s youth, the unemployment rate went up 2.7 percentage points between 2010 and 2011, the second-highest jump in the country. The state has some of the smallest proportions of people holding bachelor’s or advanced degrees, and the second-highest proportion of people on food stamps or enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program at 17%. Tennessee’s state government has recently undertaken an initiative called the Pathways to Prosperity Network to help young people get jobs by focusing on career preparation for high school students who do not go to college.
4. North Carolina
> Unemployment rate ages 20-24: 19.6%%
> Total unemployment rate: 10.5%
> Total no. unemployed ages 20-24: 93,000
> Pct. less than high school diploma: 18.3%
Last year, the unemployment rate for people aged 20 to 24 was five percentage points higher in North Carolina than the nationwide rate of 14.6%. Between 2007 and 2011, the proportion of North Carolinians in this age group who were unemployed more than doubled, rising from 8.3% to 19.6% over four years. This increase of 11.3 percentage points was the second highest among all states in the country for that period. The number of unemployed young workers in that age range rose by roughly 58,000 statewide at that time. In order to better prepare young adults for work, North Carolina, along with Tennessee and four other states, joined the Pathways to Prosperity Network.
3. South Carolina
> Unemployment rate ages 20-24: 19.9%
> Total unemployment rate: 10.3%
> Total no. unemployed ages 20-24: 46,000
> Pct. less than high school diploma: 19.7%
South Carolina’s unemployment rate for people aged 20 to 24 has ranked among the 10 highest in the country, for each of the past five years. Close to 20% of 18 to 24 year olds in South Carolina had not completed high school as of 2010.
> Unemployment rate ages 20-24: 20.2%
> Total unemployment rate: 9%
> Total no. unemployed ages 20-24: 43,000
> Pct. less than high school diploma: 19.9%
Alabama’s overall unemployment rate of 9% in 2011 was only slightly above the U.S. average of 8.9%. However, young people were not as competitive as the rest of the state’s labor force, with an unemployment rate well above the national rate of 14.6% for those aged 20 to 24. The year prior, Alabama had the nation’s worst unemployment rate for this age group at 20.9%. Though Alabama no longer qualifies as the worst state for young job seekers, the number of Alabamians who were unemployed fell by just 2,000 between 2010 and 2011, after rising by 22,000 between 2007 and 2011.
> Unemployment rate ages 20-24: 22.2%
> Total unemployment rate: 10.7%
> Total no. unemployed ages 20-24: 28,000
> Pct. less than high school diploma: 20.3%
Unemployment for those aged 20 to 24 has been a problem for Mississippi in previous years, and it further increased by 4.4 percentage points between 2010 and 2011. The total unemployment rate in the state has been higher than the national average for the past three years. Mississippi has a very low proportion of people who have attained a bachelor’s degree or higher — less than 20% of those 25 or older had attained higher education as of 2010, the second lowest in the country. Highly correlated to education is income, and Mississippi had the country’s smallest median income of $36,851 in 2011.
Michael B. Sauter, Alexander E. M. Hess and Lisa Nelson