College Towns See Lower Unemployment

Many boast unemployment rates far below national average
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Mar 24, 2009 12:56 PM CDT
Iowa State University in Ames was a stop on the campaign trail for Barack Obama in 2007; the area is currently one of the few with unemployment under 4%.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – If you’re stymied by the tough job market, set your sights near a university: three of the six metropolitan areas with unemployment under 4% are college towns, and other academic havens boast unemployment numbers far below the 8.5% national rate. “We’re hurting for people,” an HR boss at West Virginia University, which has 260 job openings, tells the Wall Street Journal.

Such areas are home to many highly educated people, and studies show that wages rise with the percentage of local college grads. “Apart from weather, human capital has been the best long-run predictor of urban success in the last century,” says an economist. Town-gown “communiversity” development projects also help. “Boundaries between the cities and the universities have really begun to crumble,” says one planner.