The Washington area is attracting recent college graduates because the chances of landing a job here remain high despite the economic downturn.
The area is "adding jobs in (service-providing industries), and in health care and in the federal sector," said George Mason University economist Stephen Fuller. "And the jobs we're losing in the region," such as construction and retail sales, "tend not to be college graduate-type jobs."
University of Toronto business professor Richard Florida recently named the District of Columbia the best city in the U.S. for recent college graduates. He based the ranking on cost of living and the number of jobs available. Nationally, unemployment for 25- to 29-year-olds was the highest it's been since 1983 when it reached 11 percent in January, according to Challenger, Gray and Christmas. The outplacement firm said unemployment for 20- to 24-year-olds was 13.9 percent in March.
But young jobseekers are likely to have more luck in Washington, CEO John Challenger said.
"With all of the work that needs to be done to turn around this economy and the large number of people in line to retire in D.C. in the next five years, it's not a bad place to look," Challenger said.
Overall, nationwide unemployment is about 9 percent. In the D.C. area, it's closer to 6 percent.
Christine Streich, a 2006 George Washington University graduate, is moving back to D.C. this summer to look for a communications job after spending two years as a high school teacher in the Mississippi Delta. She first tried looking for jobs in New York but is now focused on D.C.
"It seems like at least knowing people will be better than starting all over," Streich said.