Posted on May 1, 2015 – Maryville Daily Forum
by Tony Brown
Among those hardest hit by the Great Recession were the so-called millennials, Americans born in the 1980s through the early 2000s.
But the outlook appears to be improving for workers age 18-33 living in Missouri, and, according to one consumer-oriented economics website, the future of young adults is especially bright in Maryville.
A story by reporter Kamran Rosen published this week by NerdWallet at nerdwallet.com, ranks Maryville ninth among the top ten cities in the state in terms of offering employment opportunities for job-seeking members of the demographic sometimes referred to as Generation Y.
Writes Rosen: “A large millennial population — nearly 40 percent of the city’s 12,000 residents were ages 18 to 33 in 2013 — and employers such as Kawasaki and Northwest Missouri State University, helped push Maryville into the top-10 cities for job seekers.
“Nodaway County Economic Development, as well as the (Dean L. Hubbard) Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and the Small Business and Technology Development Center at Northwest Missouri State, support existing businesses and help new ones get off the ground.”
Beyond Maryville, northern Missouri as a whole was well represented on Rosen’s list, which also included Trenton (No. 3), Bowling Green (No. 4) and Macon (No. 5).
Trenton, the Grundy County seat and home to North Central Missouri College, is located in north central Missouri about 100 miles southeast of Maryville. Bowling Green and Macon — also county seats — are located in the northeastern part of the state.
On the fringe of the region, the east-central Missouri city of Fulton, population 12,700, came in at No. 7. Like Maryville, Fulton is a college town and home to both Westminster College and William Woods University.
The top spot in the NerdWallet ranking went to Pevely, a town of 5,400 people located in Jefferson County south of St. Louis.
NerdWallet analyzed 95 Missouri communities with populations over 5,000, but only two cities on the top-10 list have more than 20,000 residents: Jefferson City (No. 2), the state capital, which pushed passed the 43,000 population mark in the 2010 census, and the St. Louis suburb of Maryland Heights (No. 8), with a population of 27,400.
Bonne Terre in southeast Missouri and Neosho in the southwestern part of the state filled out the list at No. 6 and No. 10 respectively.
Rosen noted that several of the top-ten cities share key characteristics with Maryville in that they serve as industrial hubs and contain regional medical centers.
Nerd Wallet used several criteria in picking the top-10 towns for millennial employment, including job availability, average worker salaries, affordability of rental housing, and the number of millennials actually living in a given community
Cities with lower unemployment rates and higher payroll salaries scored higher as did those with lower rents.
Using Census Bureau data, Rosen also estimated the percentage of millennials making up a given city’s 2013 population and the growth in the number of millennial residents between 2010 to 2013. The higher those two figures, the higher the score.
In several of the cities, such as Pevely and Macon, Rosen stated that low rents and good pay countered higher unemployment rates.
He added that affordability is a key consideration for this age group. Median rent, according to the report, was found to be below the state average for nearly every city on this list, the exception being Maryland Heights, which also has the highest average payroll.
Rankings were derived using the following methodology:
• Millennials as a percentage of the population and growth in millennial numbers between 2010 to 2013 each comprised 15 percent of the score.
• The unemployment rate for each city was 20 percent of the score. The lower the unemployment rate, the better the community fared.
• Average annual worker salary was 30 percent of the score. Salary figures were calculated by averaging salaries by ZIP code then dividing that result by population.
• Median gross rent comprised 20 percent of the score.