Good Prospects

The Best Cities For Summer Jobs 2012

The Daily Beast finds the best locales for snagging a seasonal gig.

School’s out for summer—have you landed work yet? For the second year in a row The Daily Beast looks at the best cities for getting a summer job.

To find the best cities for youth summer employment, The Daily Beast crunched the employment numbers for the 100 largest metropolitan areas in the country. We focused on two factors: the unemployment rate for people age 16-24, with the most recent data from the U.S. Census, and the overall summer employment bump for 2011, with data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The metropolitan areas that had low youth unemployment and a relatively high bump in overall summer employment made up our list. The 100 cities we looked at performed worse for overall summer employment in 2011 than 2010—most cities saw increased unemployment during the summer. Still, these are, relatively speaking, the best cities for summer work. Finally, we eliminated cities that had youth employment more than 1 percent higher than the national average (for our group of 100 cities) of 18.25 percent.

Again, we gave a bonus to cities with strong minimum wage laws—people age 16-24 make up nearly 50 percent of all minimum wage earners—based on the area’s minimum wage compared to the federal standard.

Gigi Thibodeau / Getty Images

1. Portland, Maine

Labor force, ages 16-24: 37,812 
Unemployment rate, ages 16-24: 13 percent 
Summer employment change: +.37 percentage points 
Minimum wage: $7.50

Jeremy Woodhouse, Blend Images / Corbis

2. Des Moines, IA

Labor force, ages 16-24: 48,052 
Unemployment rate, ages 16-24: 12 percent 
Summer employment change: +.12 percentage points 
Minimum wage: $7.25

AC / Corbis

3. Tulsa, Oklahoma

Labor force, ages 16-24: 71,839 
Unemployment rate, ages 16-24: 13 percent 
Summer employment change: -.02 
Minimum wage: $7.25

Henryk Sadura / Corbis

4. Madison, Wisconsin

Labor force, ages 16-24: 57,840 
Unemployment rate, ages 16-24: 11 percent 
Summer employment change: -.26 percentage points 
Minimum wage: $7.25

Wes Thompson / Corbis

5. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Labor force, ages 16-24: 105,727 
Unemployment rate, ages 16-24: 12 percent  
Summer employment change: -.21 percentage points 
Minimum wage: $7.25

PictureNet / Corbis

6. Albany, New York

Labor force, ages 16-24: 71,128 
Unemployment rate, ages 16-24: 15 percent 
Summer employment change: +.02 percentage points 
Minimum wage: $7.25

Mark Karrass / Corbis

7. Omaha, Nebraska

Labor force, ages 16-24: 77,034 
Unemployment rate, ages 16-24: 13 percent 
Summer employment change: -.16 percentage points 
Minimum wage: $7.25

Carl Purcell / Corbis

8. Rochester, New York

Labor force, ages 16-24: 85,939 
Unemployment rate, ages 16-24: 15 percent 
Summer employment change: 0 percentage points 
Minimum wage: $7.25

9. Buffalo, New York

Labor force, ages 16-24: 95,486 
Unemployment rate, ages 16-24: 16 percent 
Summer employment change: +.10 percentage points 
Minimum wage: $7.25

10. Ogden, Utah

Labor force, ages 16-24: 49,907 
Unemployment rate, ages 16-24: 12 percent  
Summer employment change: -.44 percentage points 
Minimum wage: $7.25

11. Provo, Utah

Labor force, ages 16-24: 66,287 
Unemployment rate, ages 16-24: 11 percent 
Summer employment change: -.57 percentage points 
Minimum wage: $7.25