Young and looking for work? Go here
The best employment levels for adults between 25 and 34 are in New England, the upper Midwest and Washington, D.C.
While employment levels among people between 25 and 34 are fairly bleak, a few pockets of hope beckon. To find them, you'll have to drive either to New England, the upper Midwest or Washington, D.C.
The data suggest that younger adults in those areas have escaped a depressing trend of joblessness, based on an analysis by The New York Times' David Leonhardt, the publication's Washington bureau chief.
The differences between these regions and others is striking, with the employment ratio in states such as Vermont and New Hampshire topping 80% for this age group. In the worst states for young adults -- Alabama, West Virginia, New Mexico, Arizona and California -- the employment ratio is less than 72%. (Leonhardt points out that the employment-to-population ratio "counts as non-employed everyone who does not have a job, including people in graduate school. ... who are not officially unemployed — that is, actively looking for work.")
So, does that mean you should pack your bags and head north, if you're under 34 and looking for a job? Well, not necessarily.
That's because the best regions for younger workers are also are the 10 states with the greatest share of bachelor's degree holders. Washington, D.C., actually has a bigger share of college degree holders than any of the states. All this suggests that looking for work in these regions would be helped by holding an undergraduate degree.
But that's only one explanation, Leonhardt points out. Washington, D.C., workers are likely boosted by jobs and spending from the federal government, while North Dakota -- with the top 25- to 34-year-old employment ratio of 84% -- has benefited from the energy boom.
The analysis is yet another piece of data suggesting that the high cost of getting a bachelor's degree may pay off down the line. Last month's unemployment rate for college graduates was just 3.9%, while workers with only a high-school degree had a jobless rate of 7.4%, according to the Labor Department.
Some employers are trying to help their workers qualify for college credits, potentially aiding their job prospects. As my colleague Jason Notte wrote last month, Starbucks (SBUX), McDonald's (MCD) and Wal-Mart (WMT) are offering college-level classes and credits.
It's unclear what type of jobs the college grads in the better-performing states are holding.
As The Times noted in February, many low-level jobs that didn't previously require a diploma are now hiring only workers with degrees, from office couriers to administrative assistants.
Follow Aimee Picchi on Twitter at @aimeepicchi.
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