While the U.S. has experienced some job creation during the rebound so far, unemployment for America’s youngest job seekers continues to get worse, not even slightly better.
That’s because the new jobs of today aren’t open to them, according to a study called “Unemployment Among Young Workers” by the U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee:
“Employers added over half a million jobs in the last four months, yet the unemployment rate for young workers reached a record 19.6 per cent in April 2010, the highest level for this age group since the Bureau of labour Statistics began tracking unemployment in 1947… The youngest workers (16 to 17 years) experience the highest rates of unemployment. The unemployment rate for 16 to 17 year olds was 29 per cent in April.”
The chart below shows how the unemployment rate for America’s youngest (in red) continues to get worse, even while other age groups’ unemployment rates have plateaued or slightly declined (in blue or green). The rebound so far, however small, hasn’t even started for the young.
One reason explained in the report is that older workers are now taking jobs previously reserved for the youngest due to a dearth of opportunities. Another is that industries which employed young workers were hit disproportionately hard during the downturn, such as hospitality and retail. Education is also now more important than ever in securing an available job, with higher education massively reducing one’s probability of being unemployed.
Yet education doesn’t explain everything. For example, one disturbing figure from the report shows that young black college graduates have double the unemployment rate (15.8%) of other young college graduates. For many of America’s budding job seekers such as these, hitting the pavement and trying to work has proven itself completely futile. Take it as a lesson from the New Normal.