When it comes to youth employment in the United States, the numbers aren’t pretty. The unemployment rates among the 16-24 age bracket have climbed (they range from 16.6% to 27% as of February). And participation rates among youth have steadily dipped.
Here’s a chart we put together with the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Current Population Survey data to show the downward participation trend. This shows the seasonally adjusted participation rate of 16 to 19 year olds from January 2000 to January 2010.
And here is chart with unadjusted participation data. Note that 2009 summer (peak) employment is close to 2000 winter (trough) employment. The current best levels of participation are almost worse than the worst levels of participation in 2000.
To top this off, the sheer number of people in the U.S. that are in (or around) this age bracket is declining as well. This is the generational trough between the Baby Boomers’ kids and Baby Boomers’ grandchildren; the chart below showing 2008-2010 data is taken from EMSI’s labor market research tool.
The bottom line? The 16-19 year olds who participate in the workforce are now the minority, whereas 10 years ago they were the majority, and total amount of 15-19 year olds are declining. The presence of youth in the workplace has two large trends working against it.
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