Youth Unemployment

March 14, 2014 • Volume 24, Issue 11
Will good jobs continue to elude young adults?
By Alan Greenblatt


A student participates in a woodworking manufacturing training program (Getty Images/Bloomberg/Tim Boyle)
A student participates in a woodworking manufacturing training program at the Greater West Town Community Development Project in Chicago, which seeks to expand economic opportunities for residents. Youth unemployment is at its highest level in decades, which could mean a rough start in life for young people and equally serious implications for the economy. (Getty Images/Bloomberg/Tim Boyle)

Nearly 6 million Americans ages 16 to 24 are not working and not in school, keeping the youth unemployment rate at nearly 15 percent. Young people are always twice as likely to be unemployed as the population as a whole, but many economists worry that young Americans are having a more difficult time since the recent recession in getting a start in the adult world. The effects of high youth unemployment are staggering: delayed marriages, depressed rates of home ownership and, for a growing percentage of young adults, the inability to move out of parental homes into a more independent lifestyle. The number of college graduates working in minimum wage jobs has more than doubled over the past five years, while the situation is even grimmer for young people with less education — particularly minorities. Meanwhile, working Americans are paying more in taxes to support social-welfare expenses for young people without jobs.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Youths and Work
Oct. 14, 2016  Apprenticeships
Mar. 14, 2014  Youth Unemployment
Jan. 27, 2012  Youth Volunteerism
Oct. 23, 1992  Youth Apprenticeships
Aug. 31, 1990  Teens Work to Balance School & Jobs
Jul. 12, 1961  Jobs for Young People
May 10, 1950  Employment of Young People
Dec. 23, 1940  Revival of Apprenticeship
Jan. 17, 1940  Work Programs for Young People
Cost of Education and School Funding
Diversity Issues
Unemployment and Employment Programs
Work and the Family