Best Cities for Young Professionals

DanielBendjy/Getty Images/VettaThe American economy has pumped out more than 200,000 jobs a month for six months running, as of the latest (July) numbers. Still, more than 2 million college-educated workers age 25 or older are unemployed, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Workers age 25 to 34 face a 6.6% unemployment rate?the highest of any group other than the one encompassing new grads (ages 20-24).

But in Omaha, Neb., the situation is considerably better. Nebraska?s most populous city has an overall unemployment rate of just 4.1% (projected 2014, by Moody’s MCO +0.04%), helping it to land the No. 3 spot on our list of America?s Best Cities for Young Professionals. It boasts a strong presence of large businesses (1 for every 810 residents) as well as small-to-medium ones (1 for every 52 residents). Warren Buffett?s hometown is headquarters to the Fab Five,? a group of Fortune 500 companies that includes Berkshire Hathaway , Union Pacific UNP +1.75% Corp., ConAgra Foods CAG +0.19%, Kiewit Corporation and Mutual of Omaha. San Jose-based PayPal chose to put its operations center there. And of course, it?s home to Omaha Steaks.? But the city also has a lively startup scene, including its own Midwestern-focused tech news blog, Silicon Prairie News, and regional start-up conference, Big Omaha. Thanks to the combination of companies large and small, Omaha jobs are projected to grow at an average annual rate of 2.8% through 2016. Given that the greater metropolitan area, which includes nearby Council Bluffs, Iowa, is less than 1 million people, that?s manageable opportunity.

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