January 2017 Monthly Jobs Analysis


The young adult unemployment rate increased slightly to 6.5 percent, in January (seasonally adjusted), up from 6.3 percent in December. About 51,000 new young adults entered the workforce, which can cause the unemployment rate to increase. The number of unemployed also increased and by a larger margin than new young adults in the workforce. The young adult unemployment rate continues to persist at higher rates that the national unemployment rate, which also increased slightly  from 4.7 percent up to 4.8 percent.

The unemployment rate grew for young Latinos, African Americans, and Asian or Pacific Islanders over the month (though these are not seasonally adjusted). Notably, the rate for Asian or Pacific Islander young adults doubled, from 2.7 percent to 5.5 percent.

The workforce has largely recovered  since the Great Recession, as reflected by stronger employment rates, but new research published by Young Invincibles last month demonstrated longer-term structural problems for today’s young adults. Millennials today earn lower incomes, own houses at lower rates, and have amassed fewer assets and wealth than Boomers had when they were the same age in 1989.,This highlights that increased employment is just one piece of the puzzle needed to get this generation of young people back on track.

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December Jobs Report: Young Adult Unemployment Lowest Since May 2007

The unemployment rate for young adults fell to 6.3 percent in December 2016,  its lowest point in nearly a decade. Last week’s report is the final jobs report of the Obama administration, which oversaw a volatile workforce that significantly impacted young adults. A few notable points:

  • Young adults suffered from 54 straight months of double-digit unemployment rates between January 2009, when President Obama first took office, to June 2013.
  • Young adult unemployment reached its height at 13.3 percent in April 2010.
  • Last month’s rate of 6.3 percent is the lowest the rate has been since May 2007.

This graph below tracks the unemployment rate among young adults and the workforce generally over the last decade. It also highlights the weak jobs market President Obama inherited from the Great Recession and the slow recovery through his administration. the Recession (yellow area) officially began in December 2007, over a year before Obama took office and continued for at least six months into his presidency. The green indicates an overlap of both the recession and the Obama administration (remember how yellow and blue make green?). Starting with the recovery in June 2009, the unemployment rate for young adults steadily declined to last month’s historic low.


Taking a closer look at the most recent unemployment rates for December of last year, we see that despite overall gains, that young African Americans still suffer from the highest unemployment rates, double the rate overall, at ten percent. Young Latino adults also have higher rates at 7.3 percent. Young Asian or Pacific Islander adults had the lowest unemployment rates at 2.7 percent.

image01While the jobs market has generally recovered from the Great Recession in the short-term, last week Young Invincibles released new research analyzing long-term declines in financial security, which show that  today’s Millennials earn lower incomes, own homes at lower rates, and have amassed fewer assets and wealth than Baby Boomers when they were the same age.

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Webinar: Paid Sick Leave Will Help Millennial Families

Young Invincibles and the National Partnership for Women & Families held a discussion on how expanding access to paid sick days can help Millennial parents and their children access preventive care under the Affordable Care Act. The webinar highlighted findings from a new issue brief by Young Invincibles and included an update on the status of national, state and local campaigns for paid sick leave across the country.

If you didn’t get a chance to join, check out the webinar slides, below:


Webinar: Paid Sick Leave Will Help Millennial Families Access Preventive Care
Full Text Report: Paid Sick Leave Will Help Millennial Families Access Preventive Care

Featured presenters:
Christina Postolowski, Rocky Mountain Regional Director and Health Policy Manager, Young Invincibles
Sarah Fleisch Fink, Director of Workplace Policy and Senior Counsel, National Partnership for Women & Families

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Encouraging jobs report for nation’s workers, including young adults

Echoing the national employment picture, young adults unemployment rate fell again last month, from 6.9 percent in July to 6.7 percent in August (seasonably adjusted). Young African Americans, a group with persistently high unemployment rates, also dropped nearly two points to 10.5 percent, although that estimate can not be adjusted for the seasonable employment changes, such as summer jobs.


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July Jobs Numbers Make Case for Improving Apprenticeship Programs

By Tom Allison

While the national unemployment rate remained at 4.9 percent in July, the rate for young adults ages 18-to-34 rose slightly to 6.9 percent (seasonably adjusted) from 6.8 percent in June. Notably, sectors with high prevalence of apprenticeships saw significant job growth. Those sectors include:

  • The construction industry added 14,000 new jobs in July, including 9,400 specialty trade contracting jobs.
  • Nearly 50,000 new jobs were created in health care and social assistance, including 17,000 new hospital jobs and over 5,000 in social assistance.
  • There were also 11,000 new jobs in durable good manufacturing (all estimates seasonably adjusted).

Among the other unadjusted unemployment estimates, we see that young people of color continue to struggle to find a job despite the fact that our national unemployment rate has fallen by more than half since the depths of the recession:

  • Young Latinos: 7.5 percent
  • Young Asian or Pacific Islanders: 6.0 percent
  • Young African Americans 12.2 percent

jobs july


Last week’s jobs report coincides with Young Invincibles’ release of a new report on apprenticeships, debunking myths about the program and making suggestions for improving the system. The job growth in sectors key for apprenticeships reinforces our recommendations to improve our apprenticeship system. Conducted in the Chicagoland area where young people face some of the highest unemployment rates in the nation, the study highlights three key misconceptions that Millennials hold about apprenticeships: that apprenticeship programs don’t currently exist in their communities, that apprenticeships don’t pay, and that participating in an apprenticeship means never receiving a college degree.

Based on these misconceptions about apprenticeships, as well as stated job preferences among Millennials, we advance six recommendations for building and branding youth-friendly apprenticeship programs.

When it comes to program structure, we recommend expanding pre-apprenticeship and job shadowing opportunities, creating more apprenticeships that provide the option to receive college credentials, and starting apprentices in cohorts. On the marketing side, we suggest being more explicit about wages, building innovative social media marketing strategies, and using near-peers as ambassadors.  Doing so will both build a broader base of Millennial support for these programs and ensure that those opportunities fit the needs of today’s young people.

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Learning To Work In Texas

Young workers make up a significant part of the Texas workforce, 39.7 percent of which is comprised of people between the ages of 16 to 34 years old. The state’s economic prospects rest on this generation’s ability to secure good jobs and to support themselves and their families. However, young people today are less likely to earn as much as previous generations, face skyrocketing higher education costs, and have dim prospects of social mobility as a result.

Recognizing this, Young Invincibles launched the Texas Jobs Tour in 2015, a statewide listening tour that reached over 250 young adults in Texas, learning from their experiences confronting a workforce that is increasingly challenging to break into and to excel in. Guided by these conversations, and existing data around youth unemployment challenges both across Texas and locally in Houston, we detail an agenda for Houston and state policymakers that would build upon current initiatives to open up jobs and economic opportunity. To improve job search skills and connections to the job market, the state of Texas must strengthen high school advising programs and improve access to information about career outcomes at Texas Colleges. Local and state policymakers must also expand early work experience opportunities for young Texans.

Please see our report, Learning to Work in Texas, for details on the policy agenda.

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Employment Trends of Young Adults over the Last Three Years



Tom Allison, 2013



June marked my third anniversary of working at Young Invincibles, and the 36th straight month of digging through the monthly jobs report to highlight young adults and underrepresented minorities’ trends in the workforce. Along the way we’ve explored entrenched inequities, particularly between African American and white young adults, put a price tag on the cost of youth unemployment, ranked the best jobs and industries for Millennial workers, and laid out a workforce development gameplan to improve young workers’ employment prospects. So we’ve learned a lot about young adults in the workforce, but I was curious about how their situation has changed in these last three years.

Generally, young adults, just like the workforce as a whole, have seen some significant improvements in the job market. In fact, there are 2.9 million more young adults working in 2016 than in 2013. Their unemployment rate has dropped 3.5 points to 6.8 percent from 10.4 percent.

June Jobs 16-1

The percent of young adults participating in the workforce (young adults with jobs or actively looking for one) has remained nearly the same. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing though, as students not actively looking for work don’t count as part of the workforce.

June Jobs 16-2

The percentage of young people with jobs, also known as the employment-population ratio, has improved: nearly 70 percent of all young adults have some sort of employment, compared to 60 percent for the workforce at large.  While young people are finding jobs, it’s just as important  to understand the quality of jobs for young adults, and have that understanding drive our workforce policies.

June 16 -3

We know that all jobs aren’t created equal, and there’s plenty of evidence that young adults aren’t recovering fast enough to remain financially secure, and of course significant racial gaps persist and must be addressed. We also know that 99 percent of all jobs created since the Recession have gone to workers with a college education, so making college more accessible and affordable, and improving student success rates, is more important than ever.

So we’ve come a long way in the last three years, but have a lot more work to do.

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Tom Allison in the Young Invincibles’ Data Lab, 2016



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Young Invincibles: Damaging House Labor-H Bill Passes Appropriations Committee


Thursday, July 14, 2016

CONTACT: Nina Smith, nina.smith@younginvincibles.org301-717-9006

Damaging House Labor-H Bill Passes Appropriations Committee

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The House Appropriations Committee today passed the FY 2017 Labor-H Appropriations bill via a nearly party-line vote, which would cut Pell Grants and restrict the Department of Education’s ability to protect students from predatory education providers. It would completely eliminate funding for apprenticeships, child care for student parents, and health care access for millions of young adults.

Rory O’Sullivan, deputy director of Young Invincibles stated the following:

“The House Labor-H appropriations bill passed out of committee today ignores the barriers to opportunity facing millions of young people across the country. Slashing funding for education and child care could prevent young adults from establishing lasting careers, caring for their families, and boosting their earning potential with a college degree. At a time when our generation could become the first in American history worse off than our parents, this bill would put economic security further out of reach for millions.

The cuts in this bill are expansive.  Pell Grants would lose $1.3 billion, limiting access to college for eight million students seeking a postsecondary credential. The bill would zero-out funding for on-campus childcare essential for young parents seeking a degree – something that has enjoyed longstanding bipartisan support. It would also expose vulnerable students to deceptive, high-debt education providers with an outright repeal of the Gainful Employment rule.

Even as youth unemployment remains 40 percent above the national average, this bill eliminates already meager funding to support businesses hoping to establish and expand apprenticeship training programs that lead to well-paid jobs and productive employees. Finally, the bill would defund aspects of the ACA critical to ensuring health care access for millions of young people.

Students and working families count on these resources to make a better life for themselves and for their families. We commend Members of the Committee who stood up in support of smart investments that help Americans achieve economic security.  And we remain hopeful that Congress can find common ground that ensures access to a quality, affordable higher education, health care coverage for millions of young adults, and alternative pathways to essential workforce credentials in future spending agreements.”


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Young Invincibles Hails Unanimous Passage of Perkins CTE Bill out of House Committee


Thursday, July 7, 2016

CONTACT: Nina Smith, nina.smith@younginvincibles.org, 301-717-9006

Washington, D.C. — Today, the U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce passed out of committee HR 5587, the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act, a bill designed to reauthorize the Perkins CTE program. The 37-0 vote advances the bill to the House floor. Perkins CTE allows states to fund robust career and technical education programs in high schools and community colleges, and enables students to get the training they need to prepare for future careers. Reauthorization of the program is an opportunity to advance reforms to help young Americans find work, as detailed in Young Invincibles’ Millennial Workforce Development Priorities Report.

“We celebrate bipartisan committee passage of a modern Perkins program that works better for young people. This bill is an important step toward creating a program that is responsive to the needs of employers and young workers alike,” said Reid Setzer, Young Invincibles’ Policy and Legislative Affairs Analyst. “Aligning Perkins with other federal workforce programs and improving the metrics used to evaluate success will strengthen the program long-term and help relieve high youth unemployment. We look forward to Congress continuing their work on improving aspects of Perkins on the path to reauthorization in the coming months.”


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Summit Takes on Challenges Facing Changing Workforce by Employers and Millennials

For Immediate Release

Marjorie Parker, Deputy Executive Director, JobsFirstNYC

Nina Smith, Communications Director, Young Invincibles
202-734-6529 ⏐nina.smith@younginvincibles.org

Convening in New York City will engage young adults on policy solutions to better their economic standing and deliver cross-sector strategies to address the growing need for skilled talent

New York, NY, July 6, 2016 JobsFirstNYC and Young Invincibles in partnership with the New York City Department of Youth and Community Development, and the Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Staten Island Chambers of Commerce, announced today that they will hold a two-day convening: Adapting to the Future of Work: Creating the New York City Future Talent Pipeline, to be held July 20-21, 2016 at Baruch College at the City University of New York. The event will bring together national and local businesses, employer intermediaries, trade associations, philanthropies, nonprofits, and young adults to deep dive into challenges, strategies, and policy considerations around how the changing workforce impacts Millennials.

The first day of the convening includes a business breakfast on July 20th, featuring leaders from Gap Inc., JPMorgan Chase, Swiss Post Solutions, and others, sharing the talent development strategies they are using to increase both business productivity and young people’s access to meaningful employment opportunities; followed by an event for philanthropies and public sector and nonprofit executives, featuring leaders of WorkLife Partnership and Year Up, amongst others. Finally, the convening will culminate on July 21st with a full-day summit for young adults, ages 16 to 24, that will include dynamic presentations and workshops with entrepreneurs, business leaders, advocates, and policymakers to engage young adults on what the changing economy means to their generation and to build a movement of young adult activists and leaders to be a part of shaping the future of work.

“The demographics of employees are changing and so are employees’ expectations, values, attitudes, and styles of working. Conventional management models must be replaced with leadership approaches adapted to the future employee. As a Director of Training and Organizational Development at Swiss Post Solutions (SPS), I have a responsibility to rethink our traditional structure, how we empower employees, and what they need to do to remain competitive in a rapidly changing world. This is reflected in the positive impact our trainings and team development strategies have on the lives of our future employees.”

Adapting to the future or work has helped SPS:

  • Stay ahead of the competition
  • Attract and retain top talent
  • Rethink management
  • Structure effective teams
  • Create better leaders
  • Embrace flexible work environments
  • Respond to the changing workforce
  • Build the organization of the future”

- Paul Ortega, National Director of Training & Organizational Development, Swiss Post Solutions Inc.

“Young people are dealing with some of the worst economic conditions in our economy, including declining wages and crushing student debt. That is why we are bringing together hundreds of young adults for a first-of-its-kind convening to jumpstart a movement and remove barriers to economic opportunity in New York City,” said Kevin Stump, Northeast Director of Young Invincibles. “We all have a role to play when it comes to advancing economic opportunity for the next generation of New York workers. This event will empower young adults to act as changemakers in their communities, equip them with the tools to succeed, and help them shape a 21st century economy that is inclusive and fair.”

Business Breakfast
On the morning of July 20th, JobsFirstNYC and Young Invincibles have partnered with the Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Staten Island Chambers of Commerce as well as Swiss Post Solutions, Modell’s Sporting Goods, Wildlife Conservation Society, Benchmarc Restaurants, and UncommonGoods for discussion on how New York City businesses can adapt to advances in technology, changing economic trends, and demographic shifts by creating cost-effective talent pipeline development.

We will hear from executives from Gap Inc., Swiss Post Solutions, JPMorgan Chase, and others on internal business strategies to efficiently recruit and retain young talent. Representatives from the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, WorkLife Partnership, and Year Up, will lead a discussion on successful multi-sector partnerships to offset the rising costs of HR while addressing skill gaps for middle-wage, middle-skill jobs.

Those interested in attending the Business Breakfast can register at http://goo.gl/37wDrg.

Philanthropy and Nonprofit Executives Session
On the afternoon of July 20th, nonprofit executives and philanthropy will explore opportunities for the evolution of the nonprofit workforce development sector.

Social enterprise models, benefit corporations, and alternative staffing organizations are all intriguing options for workforce nonprofits, but getting these projects off the ground can be difficult, risky, and expensive. Moreover, many young workers are entering the economy just as contract-based work, or freelancing, is beginning to proliferate every industry from customer service, to technology, to transportation. How can nonprofits and philanthropy work together to build models that grow towards self-sufficiency and prepare young adults for the current gig or sharing economy, while maintaining existing programs and services?

Those interested in attending the Executive session can register at http://goo.gl/PmajgT.

Young Adult Convening

On July 21st, JobsFirstNYC and Young Invincibles have partnered with the New York City Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD) to bring together 16-24 year-old New Yorkers to discuss the future of work.

Using the theme of, “Me, My Community, and My City”, the day will include workshops on entrepreneurship and professional development for the jobs of the future; a presentation from New York City Council Members on how young adults can work as agents of change to shape the future of workforce and economic policies; and a panel and workshops on advocacy strategies to advance economic equity for all future New York City workers. The day will also include performances from local young artists.

Young adults interested in attending July 21st can register at http://bit.ly/28Wmt9T.

Philanthropic Support

This event has been made possible with support from The Clark Foundation, the Ira W. DeCamp Foundation, JPMorgan Chase & Co., and the New York Community Trust.

JobsFirstNYC is a neutral intermediary and a champion for the workforce needs of out-of-school, out-of-work young adults in New York City. Our mission is to improve the system for young adults by bringing together — effectively and efficiently — all available community, corporate, private and public resources to accelerate the connection of out-of-school, out-of-work young adults with the economic life of New York City. | www.jobsfirstnyc.org

Young Invincibles
Young Invincibles is a national organization, working to elevate the voices of young adults, ages 18 to 34, and to engage them on the most pressing issues facing their generation. Young Invincibles guarantees that young adults are represented in today’s top societal debates through cutting-edge policy research and analysis, and innovative campaigns that educate, inform andmobilize the Millennial generation to change the status quo. |www.younginvincibles.org

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