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

 

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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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

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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Tepid May jobs report underscores need for innovation and reform

 

MayJobs 2016

Looking at some of the headlines for the May jobs report, you’d think America’s employment situation is in rough shape. After all, the economy added only 38,000 jobs, the slowest growth since 2010. Some speculated that Fed Chair Janet Yellen might delay interest rate hikes due to the sluggish job growth.

The monthly jobs report can be sliced and diced different ways though, and May’s report shows some interesting trends for young adults. But further analysis points to persistent inequities for marginalized communities and it underscore a need for innovation and targeted reform in our employment system. With that in mind, it’s worth it to take a step back, and look at these  trends. This month, we compare the unemployment rates for young adults, broken out by demographic between May 2015 and May 2016.

By this comparison, the employment picture for young adults improved overall since last year. The unemployment rate facing young African Americans declined 2.6 points, and young Latinos’ rate declined 1.9 points. However, rates of unemployment for young people of color are almost double their white counterparts. This is clear evidence that structural disparities remain and more work needs to be done on workforce policy and college affordability to improve our economy overall.

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Racial Disparities in the Unemployment Rate Widen Among Millennials, While Economy Adds Jobs


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

July 2, 2015

Contact: Sarah Lovenheim, sarah.lovenheim@younginvincibles.org

[WASHINGTON] – While the economy added 223,000 jobs last month, the national unemployment rate dropped from 5.5 percent in May to 5.3 percent in June. However, there may be seasonal effects underway, as summer can mark a period of labor force transition.

The unemployment rate for 18- to 34-year-olds dipped slightly, from 7.8 percent in May to 7.7 percent in June, yet racial disparities in the job market widened. The unemployment rate for young black adults jumped from 14.6 percent in May to 15.4 percent in June.

june 2015 jobs numbers

The unemployment rate for young black adults remains disproportionately high.

A Young Invincibles report finds lawmakers can work to narrow racial disparities that persist in the job market by making college more accessible and affordable. Boosting investment in the Pell Grant, for example, could go a long way toward tackling disparities that persist in the economy.

Here are more details on how different populations of young people fared in June 2015:

- The unemployment rate for black/African American young adults ages 18 to 34 is 15.4 percent (not seasonally adjusted) in June, up from 14.6 percent in May.

- The unemployment rate for Hispanic/Latino young adults ages 18 to 34 is 9.3 percent (not seasonally adjusted) in June, up from 8.5 percent in May.

- The unemployment rate for Asian-Pacific Islander young adults ages 18 to 34 is 5.7 percent (not seasonally adjusted) in June, up from 5.1 percent in May.

- The unemployment rate for white young adults ages 18 to 34 is 6.9 percent (not seasonally adjusted) in June, up from 6.3 percent in May.

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Fifteen-Hundred Millennials To Join Together, Vote On Policy Agenda For Illinois

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

September 19, 2014

Contacts:

Sarah Lovenheim: Sarah.Lovenheim@younginvincibles.org585.746.8281
Tim Price: tprice@rooseveltinstitute.org212.493.3323

[CHICAGO] – Fifteen-hundred young adults from across Illinois are expected to attend a first-of-its-kind Convention next Saturday to vote on a state policy agenda for 2015 that reflects their generation’s interests ahead of Election Day, with candidates and elected officials watching.

The Convention marks the culmination of nearly 60 caucuses held by young Illinoisans this past summer who exchanged policy ideas under the umbrella of a new Millennial movement called NextGen Illinois. The movement, started by Young Invincibles and the Roosevelt Institute | Campus Network — in partnership with community organizations — drew more than 700 young adults to bars, community centers and parks to exchange ideas around issues, such as political reform, education and civil rights.

More than 50 young Illinoisans will present ideas that emerged at caucuses duringSaturday’s Convention and then attendees will vote on a cohesive ten-item policy agenda, designed to represent the top political priorities of young adults.

WHENSaturday, September 27, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
WHERE:  UIC Forum, 725 w Roosevelt Road, Chicago, Illinois 60607
WHO
: 1500 Millennials, joined by elected officials, including Governor Pat Quinn
WHAT: Young Illinoisans vote on a state policy agenda for their generation

Governor Pat Quinn will give the keynote address, and his Republican opponent Bruce Rauner has been invited to speak as well. The Convention will also showcase local talent, with performances by local hip-hop artists FM Supreme and Controversial.

“Many critical issues that affect our generation, such as minimum wage reform and the cost of higher education, are at the center of upcoming midterm elections. NextGen Illinois is an unprecedented agenda-setting process, designed to mobilize and energize young adults to help shape the political future of our state,” said Eve Rips, Midwest Director of Young Invincibles.

Illinois Director for the Roosevelt Institute | Campus Network Brenna Conway said, “Illinois is a state plagued by its reputation for political corruption. As election season brings its troubled history to light, NextGen Illinois serves as a way to inject young positive voices into civic discourse and advance solutions for a government and political system that is open and responsive to all Illinoisans.”

“Young Illinoisans voted at disproportionately low rates during recent midterm election cycles, according to reports by CIRCLE, but the Convention has the potential to change this.” Young adults who would like to attend can register online here. Media who plan to attend or have questions should contact Sarah Lovenheim or Tim Price, using the contact information above.

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College grads in Volusia, Flagler face challenges parents never did

Daytona Beach Journal-News

By: Lacey McLaughlin

Sharlatay Willis printed out a stack of resumes and hopped on her bike for another day of job searching. Taking care to prevent her gray dress slacks from getting tangled in her bike chain, the 23-year-old Bethune-Cookman University graduate peddled to a strip mall on Nova Road.

Willis introduced herself and handed her resume to managers at Family Dollar, Save-a-Lot, Burlington Coat Factory and Steak n’ Shake, but they all directed her to apply online where she worries her application will fall into a black hole.

The English major graduated in December with hopes of landing a job as a magazine writer or writing coach for students. But after months of dead ends and no reliable income, Willis said she would be happy to land a part-time service job.

“It gets kind of frustrating because I spent four years working so hard for a college degree and here I am struggling to find a retail job,” said Willis, who has $30,000 in student loans. “I wanted that dream job right out of college. I didn’t know it was going to be this hard.”

Lingering unemployment and student loan debt are creating additional worries for college graduates who are entering a job market that has fewer opportunities than previous generations. An analysis by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York two years ago showed 44 percent of recent college graduates — age 22 to 27 — were working in jobs that did not require degrees.

While jobs reports point to a modest recovery and news of new development locally is encouraging, real wages remain stagnant and good jobs are hard to find. Investing in a college degree has traditionally led to higher long-term economic benefits, but the current economic climate raises questions about the financial future of millennials, especially for those like Willis who have degrees in low-demand majors, such as liberal arts and social sciences.

“There is an across-the-board issue here that has led graduates to take positions below what they are qualified for,” said Sean Snaith, an economist at the University of Central Florida. “Every year that you are working a retail job and not in a degree-related field is a year of experience and human capital that you can’t get back.”

Georgia native Jana Lott moved to Daytona Beach with her college roommate after graduating from St. Leo University on Florida’s west coast with a professional writing degree last May. She aspires to work for a publishing company, but after months of job searching she felt relieved when Kmart hired her for a cashier’s position in October.

Realizing that her 20-hour-a-week job won’t be enough to pay off $125,000 in student loans and cover her living expenses, the 23-year-old moved back home with her mother in Jacksonville when her lease ended this month. Lott said she had been applying for about 20 career-related jobs each week but has taken a break because she feels burned out.

“By the time I am 27, I hope to be working in my career field,” Lott said. “I have never looked at what I should be making. Money isn’t a huge factor to me. I just want to do something I enjoy.”

Research indicates that young adults like Lott may never financially catch up to college graduates who started their careers shortly after graduation.

A new report by the Young Invincibles, a post-recession youth advocacy group, predicts that each jobless worker age 18 to 24 accounts for $4,100 a year in forgone tax revenue and social benefits.

Young Invincibles Policy and Research Manager Tom Allison, who co-authored the report “No End in Sight? The Long-Term Youth Jobs Gap and What it Means for America,” said that the shrinking of middle-class jobs and the burden of student loans create economic barriers for many recent graduates. His organization is pushing for the U.S. Department of Education to release data that tracks college graduates and majors to show who’s getting hired and their starting salaries, in addition to pushing for legislation that would reduce college tuition rates.

“There is a national debate over whether a college degree is working or not,” Allis said. “On average, it completely is. You can expect a million dollars more in life-term earnings with a degree. But there needs to be a shift with transparency and accountability. There needs to be more of a demand from consumers to get a better idea of what the value of a degree is.”

Milestones like becoming a homeowner or reaching retirement are far from Lott’s current worries. She believes the right job is out there and it’s just a matter of time before she finds it.

“I have a lot of friends who get pressure from their parents to just take any job they can find,” Lott said. “I think some people get pushed into jobs they don’t want, and I’m not just going to take a job to get a paycheck.”

Willis, who is from Miami, started looking for jobs in November but said she seldom received a response from publications or schools. When her 20-hour-a-week job on campus ended upon graduation, Willis started looking for any job that would provide a steady income.

“I want to stay in Daytona and find a job. Back at home there’s a lot of trouble that I don’t want to get into and the area is bad when it comes to crime,” Willis said. “Once I get set financially, I hope to go further north and move to a bigger city.”

When she was younger, Willis said her parents pushed her to do well in school and go to college. Her mother, a school bus driver, and father, a car mechanic, told their daughter they wanted her to have more opportunities than they had.

Now Willis has $30,000 in student loans and is struggling to find an opportunity as good as her parents had. She said she is considering going to graduate school if she is unable to find a job in her field by next year but worries about piling up more debt.

Graduates with social science and liberal arts degrees are faring worse in this economy, but the job market has become more competitive as graduates face higher demands from employers, Snaith at UCF said.

In 2010, the national unemployment rate for recent college graduates was about 5 percent and that rate has now climbed to 7 percent. The Federal Reserve Bank study, however, points out that those with college degrees that provide technical training are more likely to be working in their field. For example, 75 percent of those with an engineering degree are working in a job that requires a college degree. The two majors with the lowest unemployment rates are health and education majors.

Willis supports herself through baby-sitting jobs and splits her meager living expenses with roommates. With her bike as her only form of transportation, she cycles to Bethune-Cookman’s campus in Daytona Beach from her Port Orange apartment during the week. On campus, she conducts online job searches and mentors students at the university’s writing center. She also bikes to retail stores along her route to pass out her resume and inquire about jobs.

Her search took a big setback recently when her cellphone fell out of her pocket on the ride home and was never recovered. With no money to replace the phone, Willis found an app that allows her to receive calls and text messages on a tablet, but she is often unable to receive voicemails and the reception is spotty. A missed call could be a missed opportunity.

“Either I am under-qualified for a lot of these jobs or I’m overqualified,” Willis said. “I think there are a lot of different aspects that aren’t giving me the opportunity I want. I feel like I have put a lot of work to get to where I am at and I’m going to have to keep putting in work.”

Willis still hasn’t gone on an interview despite applying for more than a dozen jobs. She is saving her baby-sitting money to pay $150 for a temporary teaching certificate so she can be eligible to work with students at local schools. As she continues to search for service jobs, Willis said she often worries about living so close to the edge. She can’t afford health insurance and receives food stamps to buy groceries. While she is optimistic about her future, the lack of responses from employers is starting to take its toll.

“It’s starting to feel draining because I’m not getting any responses,” she said. “It gets frustrating but I’m still pushing forward.”

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Mishory: We need solutions that invest in young people

CBS News

By: Stephanie Condon

The Labor Department on Friday reported a solid 192,000 jobs were added to the economy in March. The uptick in jobs was generally good news, but the Republican National Committee spotlighted one group still lagging: young adults.

While the overall unemployment rate stayed at 6.7 percent, the unemployment rate for 20-24 year-olds increased from 11.9 percent to in February to 12.2 percent in March. For workers ages 16 to 24, the unemployment rate rose marginally to from 14.4 percent in February 14.5 percent.

“Young people propelled Obama to office, but have not seen any benefits from his agenda,” Republican National Committee spokesman Raffi Williams said in a statement. “The latest youth unemployment figures show how Obama’s policies of higher taxes, increased regulations and, most importantly, ObamaCare have stunted Millennials economic opportunity.”

The left-leaning group Young Invincibles said the proposals put forward by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., would only exacerbate the problem.

“Young adults continue to face unemployment rates twice the national average, so cuts like those proposed in the House Budget Committee’s FY2015 budget undermine our generation’s chance at getting a job and climbing the ladder of economic mobility,” Jen Mishory, the group’s deputy director, said in a statement. “We need solutions that invest in young people and connect them to the workforce, like increasing apprenticeships and an expansion of AmeriCorps.”

President Obama last specifically addressed youth unemployment in the context of the European economy, during a press conference last month in Rome with Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi.

“One of the tragedies of high youth unemployment is that when young people don’t have a strong attachment to the labor market early, that can continue for the rest of their careers and they never fully recoup what’s lost in terms of their potential earnings and their ability to advance in the labor market,” Mr. Obama said.

With respect to the Labor Department’s latest report, White House spokesman Josh Earnest on Friday called it “pretty encouraging.” Since the recession started at the outset of the Obama administration, the nation has made “a ton of progress,” he said, adding that “we’re not going to rest on our laurels.”

“There is so much work that needs to be done to expand economic opportunity for everybody,” Earnest said.

Democrats in Congress used the report to push their economic and political agenda, which focuses on pocketbook issues like raising the minimum wage.

“This continued job growth is encouraging, but we need to do more to ensure that everyone in Nevada and across the country has a fair shot at the American Dream,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said in a statement. “My Republican colleagues have a choice: will they join Democrats to stand with the middle class, or will they continue to stand with the Koch brothers as they try to rig our political system to benefit billionaires like themselves?”

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