Vital Signs, an annual community report, finds high youth unemployment is hitting Waterloo Region particularly hard.

Statistics show the number of young people ages 15-24 moving to the region has been above the provincial average since 2002. In combination with the recession, it means fewer jobs for that demographic.

Youth unemployment jumped by 45 per cent between 2008 and 2009, far above both the provincial and national averages at 27 per cent and 32 per cent respectively.

Holt Sivak, a career counsellor at Cambridge Career Connections, says he's had a record number of visitors this year.

"The struggle for youth is that they're usually the first to be let go when the economy turns down, and they're usually the last to be re-hired."

He adds that the disappearance of manufacturing jobs is a problem, and service sector positions don't provide as much relevant work experience.

Tyler Goode, 23, has been looking for work in the area, and was hoping for something that would relate to his ambitions to be a policeman or electrician.

But he's likely going to have to go into survival mode, "I need food on plate, I'm going to need my hydro, I have to find something."