May 18th, 2009

Educated? Unemployed? Welcome to Portland, Oregon

This year’s graduates face a tough job market, with unemployment on the rise across the country. So what’s a young, unemployed college graduate to do? If recent history is any indication they may just move to Portland, Oregon.

Portland’s unemployment rate has doubled in the last year and is hovering at 11.8% (the national average is 8.9%) — due in part to an influx of young, educated unemployed new residents.¬† The fraction of Oregon workers with college degrees increased to 28.3% in 2007 (above the national average of 27.5%) from 19.5% in 1990 (below the national average of 21.3%), and Portland’s mayor is hoping that the college grads will stick around while the economy straightens itself¬† out.

Certain lifestyle quirks, such as a vibrant music scene, seem to go far in attracting young people to the city despite the lack of jobs. Other fun facts? Other than Seattle, no city with a population over 1 million has more coffee shops per capita and roughly 8% of Portlanders commute regularly by bike, the highest proportion of any major U.S. city and about 10 times the national average.

Youth Magnet Cities Hit Midlife Crisis [Wall Street Journal, 5/16/09]

Touring Portland by Bike [New York Times, 4/3/09]

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[...] article linked here really hit home with me this morning. As a recent graduate from Concordia University with a [...]

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