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NH Fares Better Than Most In Youth Employment

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) â¿¿ New Hampshire has one of the nation's highest employment rates for young adults at a time when the national rate is lower than it has been in more than 50 years, according to a report released Monday.

The latest "Kids Count" policy report by the Annie E. Casey Foundation concludes that employment among both 16- to 19-year-olds and 20- to 24-year-olds is at its lowest level since World War II. Only about half of young people ages 16 to 24 held jobs in 2011, and among teens in that group, only 25 percent were employed.

But in New Hampshire, 72 percent of residents ages 20 to 24 were employed in 2011. Only four states had higher rates: Wisconsin, Minnesota, Nebraska and North Dakota.

New Hampshire didn't fare quite as well, however, in terms of teen employment. According to the report, 35 percent of New Hampshire teens ages 16 to 19 were employed in 2011. Thirteen other states had rates that were the same or higher than New Hampshire's, with Nebraska having the highest rate.

New Hampshire's ranking could improve in the future now that a long-stalled project to build a Jobs Corps Center in Manchester has begun moving forward. The federal government last month began soliciting bids for the construction of the facility, which will be a residential education and job-training complex serving low-income youth ages 16 to 24. New Hampshire is one of only two states that lack such a center. The project was stalled by contract language that would have required the facility to be built by union labor.

New Hampshire's overall unemployment rate has been well below the national average for years. In October, it was 5.7 percent, compared with 7.9 percent for the nation. Nine other states had lower rates than New Hampshire that month.

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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