By Nora Tooher

It’s a tough job market in Akron for teens and young adults. But the employment picture for young folks is better here than in a lot of other cities.

From 2000 through 2012, the local employment rate for teens ages 16 to 19 dropped to 34 percent from 50 percent, a new study from the Brookings Institution shows. Still, Akron placed 17th among the nation’s 100 largest metros for the level of teen employment.

Akron also ranked 17th for employment levels among young adults aged 20 to 24, with 70.8 percent of residents that age employed as of 2012, down from 77.8 percent in 2000.

The report analyzed employment prospects for teens and young adults in the nation’s 100 largest metro areas between 2000 and 2011. An interactive website provides updated data for each metro as of 2012.

On a number of measures – employment rates, labor force underutilization, unemployment and year-round joblessness – teens and young adults fared poorly. Non-Hispanic whites, those from higher-income households, those with work experience and those with higher levels of education were more successful in the labor market.

The top five metros for teen employment – ages 16 to 19 – were Provo, Utah; Portland, Maine; Des Moines, Iowa; Omaha, Neb.; and Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minn.

Riverside, Calif., had the lowest teen employment rate, just below McAllen, Texas; Los Angeles; Greensboro, N.C.; and El Paso, Texas.

Des Moines led metros with the highest employment levels for those 20 to 24, followed by Portland, Maine; Provo, Utah; Ogden, Utah; and Omaha, Neb.

The toughest metros employment-wise for those 20 to 24 are McAllen; Modesto, Calif.; Lakeland, Fla.; New York City and Fresno, Calif.

Nationwide, teens aged 16 to 19 experienced the most dramatic decline in employment rates, which plummeted from 45 percent in 2000 to 26 percent in 2011—the lowest rate for teens in the post-World War II era. Employment rates also fell sharply among young adults aged 20-24, from 72 percent in 2000 to 61 percent in 2011.