Part 4 of our Unemployment Series – American Youths Continue to be Prone to High Rates of Unemployment

As we continue our series on unemployment, we take a closer look at American youths. Unemployment continues to impact all sectors of the labor market; however, its critical impact on American youths, or those aged 16 to 24, cannot be discounted. While overall employment has improved year over year (last reported at 7.9 percent in the Bureau of Labor Statistic’s Jobs Report released for January 2013), young adults have not fared as well. [i] In fact, the unemployment situation for those in this age bracket has not improved, counter to the trend for the general population. [ii]

For those aged 16 to 19, unemployment has remained unchanged year over year at 23.4 percent, according seasonally adjusted numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.[ii]  Those aged 20 to 24 showed slightly better advantages, with unemployment at 14.2 percent; albeit, an increase from January 2012 when unemployment was at 13.3 percent. [ii]

As reported by the BLS, when dissecting this age group, women tend to fair slightly better than their male counterparts.  For instance, in the 16 to 19 age bracket, men saw an unemployment rate of 26.4 percent versus 20.5 for women. [ii] For African American youth aged 16 to 19, the unemployment situation remains dire, with a staggering rate of 37.8 percent unemployment in January 2013 (although this is an improvement from a high of 37.9 percent the previous year).

Out of all sectors of the labor market, it’s clear that the young adult population continues to bear the brunt of the unemployment burden.  American youths have not only been saddled with the burden of a down jobs market these past years, but also their lack of experience and skills mean that older workers are able to acquire available jobs in their stead.

For those in this age bracket looking for work, there are many resources available. Specifically in regards to training, the U.S Department of Labor provides helpful resources to assist young adults in acquiring skills to secure employment as they begin their working careers. Visit here for more information.

And to search for entry level jobs, for recent college grads or others, visit our Entry-level Job Exchange here.


[i] Bureau of Labor Statistics, The Employment Situation — January 2013

[ii] Bureau of Labor Statistics, Table A-10. Selected unemployment indicators, seasonally adjusted

[iii] Bureau of Labor Statistics, Table A-2. Employment status of the civilian population by race, sex, and age

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