Ten Cities Where Young People Can’t Find Work

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10. Springfield, Mass.
> Employment rate, ages 20-24: 55.9%
> Total unemployment rate: 7.9% (tied for 46th highest)
> Pct. high school graduate or higher: 87.8% (37th lowest)
> Median household income: $51,531 (50th highest)

The employment rate of Springfield area residents aged 20 to 24 fell 12.6 percentage points between 2000 and 2012, the sixth largest drop in the country. Just 55.9% of people in this age group in the area had a job in 2012. Potentially contributing to the low employment rate of young adults is the fact that just 6.7% of those aged 18 to 24 had a college degree as of 2012, lower than most major metro areas. Nationwide, the unemployment rate for people with a bachelor’s degree is about half of what it is for Americans who only finished high school.

9. Stockton, Calif.
> Employment rate, ages 20-24: 55.5%
> Total unemployment rate: 15.2% (tied for the highest)
> Pct. high school graduate or higher: 78.3% (6th lowest)
> Median household income: $50,722 (46th lowest)

Like many of the cities with low employment among young adults, the Stockton area’s total unemployment rate soared in recent years, rising from 7% in 2000 to more than 15% in 2012. This was the worst increase, in percentage point terms, of any large metropolitan area in the country during that time. At the same time, just 55.5% of area residents aged 20 to 24 had a job, among the lowest employment rates for the age group nationally. The area’s economy is among the worst in the country for all ages. In 2012, the city of Stockton filed for bankruptcy. As a result, the city initiated massive layoffs of public employees and cut many services. Meanwhile, a current stalemate regarding state employees’ pension fund has left many residents uncertain about their future and that of their city.

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8. Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, Calif.
> Employment rate, ages 20-24: 55.2%
> Total unemployment rate: 12.1% (5th highest)
> Pct. high school graduate or higher: 78.6% (7th lowest)
> Median household income: $51,695 (49th highest)

Youth employment in the San Bernardino area, like a number of other metro areas in California, has been slow to recover from the financial crisis. Between 2000 and 2012, the percentage of people aged 20 to 24 with a job dropped by nearly 10 percentage points to just 55.2%. Like many of the cities with low employment among young adults, overall unemployment was also high. The area’s average unemployment rate of 12.1% in 2012 was fifth-highest among major metro areas. Like many cities with low employment among young adults, the economy is in trouble. The housing crisis hit San Bernardino hard and resulted in severe damage to the city’s finances. The city filed for bankruptcy nearly two years ago, but is now looking to exit court protection.

7. Sacramento–Roseville–Arden-Arcade, Calif.
> Employment rate, ages 20-24: 54.7%
> Total unemployment rate: 10.4% (8th highest)
> Pct. high school graduate or higher: 88.0% (40th lowest)
> Median household income: $56,813 (31st highest)

Employment among young Sacramento residents declined by almost 13 percentage points between 2000 and 2012, among the worst drops in employment of any large metro area. Unlike many of the cities with the lowest employment rates for young adults, Sacramento had a relatively high median income, at $56,813 in 2012. However, like a number of other California cities, total unemployment in Sacramento was especially high. More than 10% of the Sacramento workforce was unemployed in 2012, one of the highest rates of any major metro area.

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6. Toledo, Ohio
> Employment rate, ages 20-24: 54.7%
> Total unemployment rate: 7.9% (tied for 46th highest)
> Pct. high school graduate or higher: 89.7% (35th highest)
> Median household income: $43,334 (9th lowest)

The employment rate of Toledo residents aged 20 to 24 fell by nearly 17 percentage points from 2000 to 2012, the second-largest drop among all large metro areas. Just 54.7% of residents aged 20 to 24 were employed in 2012, versus 60% of all adults 25 and up in the area. Like many of the areas with low employment among young adults, the Toledo metro area also had a low median income of just $43,334 as of 2012. Between 2001 and 2012, the Toledo area’s economy grew by 33% — one of the lowest growth rates of any major metro area in that time, based on Bureau of Economic Analysis data. While the job market is not encouraging for young adults, the state government is trying to address the issue. Earlier this month, Ohio Treasurer John Mandel stated he hoped to encourage younger Ohio residents to pursue careers in manufacturing and other skilled trades.