It’s no secret that young Americans suffered some of the steepest job losses in the aftermath of the Great Recession. While younger workers continue to lag behind the rest of the workforce as the economy recovers, the outlook remains particularly bleak in states like Georgia, South Carolina and West Virginia.

Last week, the U.S. Department of Labor published new state-level 2015 annual employment data for different demographic groups. 

The national unemployment rate for people age 16 to 24 now stands at 10.5 percent. That’s well below the nearly 20 percent rate reached in 2010, but it still far exceeds the 4.9 percent national rate for all workers. Other measures taking into account younger workers not currently in the labor market show they have a much longer way to go for a full recovery.

States registering the highest youth unemployment rates for 2015 were West Virginia (17.4 percent), South Carolina (16.2 percent) and Georgia (14.6 percent). States posting the lowest rates included North Dakota (4.5 percent), Nebraska (6.5 percent), New Hampshire (7 percent) and Utah (7 percent).

State Age 16-24 Rate Age 25-54 Rate Total Rate
Alabama 13.3% 5.5% 6.1%
Alaska 12.3% 5.7% 6.7%
Arizona 12.4% 5.0% 6.0%
Arkansas 11.1% 5.0% 5.2%
California 13.3% 5.2% 6.2%
Colorado 8.3% 3.5% 3.9%
Connecticut 10.0% 5.6% 5.6%
Delaware 12.0% 4.6% 5.0%
District of Columbia 14.6% 6.0% 6.9%
Florida 11.1% 4.8% 5.4%
Georgia 14.6% 4.5% 5.8%
Hawaii 8.7% 3.6% 3.7%
Idaho 8.2% 3.5% 4.3%
Illinois 13.1% 4.9% 5.9%
Indiana 11.5% 4.1% 4.8%
Iowa 8.4% 2.9% 3.6%
Kansas 7.5% 3.9% 4.3%
Kentucky 13.3% 4.3% 5.4%
Louisiana 13.6% 5.4% 6.2%
Maine 10.6% 4.0% 4.4%
Maryland 12.2% 4.6% 5.2%
Massachusetts 10.0% 4.4% 4.9%
Michigan 11.9% 4.5% 5.4%
Minnesota 7.7% 3.5% 3.8%
Mississippi 14.5% 5.4% 6.5%
Missouri 10.7% 4.3% 5.0%
Montana 7.2% 3.9% 4.1%
Nebraska 6.5% 2.3% 3.0%
Nevada 13.5% 6.0% 6.9%
New Hampshire 7.0% 2.7% 3.4%
New Jersey 11.9% 4.9% 5.8%
New Mexico 14.1% 6.3% 6.8%
New York 14.2% 4.0% 5.3%
North Carolina 14.3% 5.0% 5.9%
North Dakota 4.5% 2.7% 2.7%
Ohio 12.5% 3.7% 4.9%
Oklahoma 9.0% 3.8% 4.3%
Oregon 12.7% 4.2% 5.7%
Pennsylvania 10.1% 4.6% 5.2%
Rhode Island 10.7% 5.2% 5.9%
South Carolina 16.2% 4.7% 5.9%
South Dakota 9.6% 2.6% 3.5%
Tennessee 12.6% 4.8% 5.7%
Texas 9.3% 3.7% 4.4%
Utah 7.0% 2.7% 3.6%
Vermont 9.4% 3.0% 3.6%
Virginia 9.9% 4.0% 4.5%
Washington 11.7% 4.9% 5.6%
West Virginia 17.4% 6.0% 6.9%
Wisconsin 9.3% 4.1% 4.6%
Wyoming 8.9% 3.2% 4.1%

SOURCE: 2015 annual average (preliminary) unemployment rates published by U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics In general, unemployment for younger workers mirrors that of the rest of the workforce; states with lower youth unemployment rates tend to have lower rates overall. But a few states report particularly high youth unemployment despite average or below-average rates for other workers. In New York, for example, prime working age (25 to 54) employees recorded an unemployment rate of 4 percent, while youth unemployment was 14.2 percent -- one of the highest rates nationally. Other states with larger disparities included Kentucky (13.3 percent youth unemployment vs. 4.3 percent prime-working age unemployment) and Ohio (12.5 percent youth unemployment vs. 3.7 percent prime-working age unemployment).

Industries more inclined to hire young workers, like hospitality or tourism, have performed better in some states.

Demographics are another key factor. Of course, younger workers with higher levels of education are more likely to gain employment. Stark differences are further apparent across racial and ethnic groups, as young African-American workers recorded unemployment rates about twice that of whites and Asians last year.

Youth unemployment can also be assessed via state employment-to-population ratios. This broader measure considers those not in the labor force, including individuals who’ve given up their job search and full-time college students. Mississippi, New Jersey and New York recorded the lowest average youth employment-to-population ratios last year.

State Age 16-24 Ratio Age 16-19 Ratio Age 20-24 Ratio
Alabama 44.6% 25.3% 59.9%
Alaska 52.7% 33.2% 66.9%
Arizona 48.8% 29.9% 64.3%
Arkansas 46.4% 26.4% 63.4%
California 43.3% 22.2% 58.2%
Colorado 53.4% 28.8% 72.0%
Connecticut 44.7% 21.5% 65.9%
Delaware 49.4% 30.7% 63.6%
District of Columbia 46.0% 13.6% 59.8%
Florida 44.6% 24.2% 61.8%
Georgia 43.1% 21.5% 59.2%
Hawaii 46.3% 27.3% 61.4%
Idaho 55.7% 39.7% 68.6%
Illinois 49.5% 31.1% 63.6%
Indiana 50.9% 32.1% 66.4%
Iowa 64.3% 50.6% 74.1%
Kansas 59.2% 42.1% 72.6%
Kentucky 48.0% 27.6% 62.5%
Louisiana 46.6% 27.7% 59.8%
Maine 53.3% 36.8% 66.8%
Maryland 51.0% 29.8% 67.2%
Massachusetts 50.7% 29.3% 64.2%
Michigan 52.6% 34.8% 65.4%
Minnesota 60.0% 45.8% 71.5%
Mississippi 42.0% 20.9% 57.0%
Missouri 58.2% 40.0% 73.8%
Montana 57.7% 42.1% 68.8%
Nebraska 61.9% 42.9% 74.4%
Nevada 52.1% 30.7% 69.4%
New Hampshire 63.0% 44.8% 77.7%
New Jersey 41.5% 21.9% 57.8%
New Mexico 44.0% 23.7% 60.2%
New York 41.4% 21.8% 55.4%
North Carolina 45.1% 24.2% 60.6%
North Dakota 65.3% 44.0% 78.6%
Ohio 52.4% 34.5% 67.8%
Oklahoma 52.0% 30.1% 68.4%
Oregon 47.4% 26.1% 65.9%
Pennsylvania 53.7% 35.3% 66.6%
Rhode Island 55.6% 34.6% 70.2%
South Carolina 44.7% 23.1% 62.2%
South Dakota 61.2% 46.0% 72.2%
Tennessee 52.4% 30.8% 67.9%
Texas 48.4% 26.2% 64.8%
Utah 63.1% 44.7% 76.0%
Vermont 55.4% 40.8% 67.9%
Virginia 49.0% 27.8% 65.9%
Washington 49.9% 26.2% 70.8%
West Virginia 45.0% 20.4% 60.8%
Wisconsin 61.4% 44.2% 74.0%
Wyoming 59.5% 39.1% 73.4%

SOURCE: 2015 annual average (preliminary) data published by U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Part of President Obama’s recent budget proposal includes nearly $6 billion in new funding for youth employment. One major component of the plan is a $3.5 billion investment in partnerships with companies and localities to provide summer jobs and up to a year of paid work for those out of school. Another $2 billion would fund a competitive grant program aimed at putting youth who’ve dropped out of high school or are most at risk of doing so on a pathway to earning a diploma.