Every month, Young Invincibles studies new unemployment data for Millennial workforce trends. We routinely look at racial disparities in Millennial joblessness as well as analyze trends by sector. For further information about Millennials and the workforce, please see these Young Invincibles reports: Where Millennials Work, the Future of Millennial Jobs, In This Together, and Best Jobs for Millennials.

Please see below for our latest monthly analysis:

June 2017 Monthly Jobs Analysis

Reflecting a strong month of job growth in the economy overall, the number of employed young adults ages 18-to-34 increased by 199,000 in June. The young adult unemployment rate declined from 6.0 percent in May to 5.8 percent in June. Both of these estimates are seasonably adjusted.

The young African American unemployment rate of 9.9 percent (non-seasonably adjusted and unchanged from May) is nearly double the national rate of 4.4 percent. The young Latino unemployment rate increased slightly to 6.2 percent in June from 6.0 percent in May (not seasonably adjusted).

With postsecondary education the strongest pathway to economic security, it is disturbing that the gap in education attainment between African Americans and white individuals is widening in the vast majority of states. Earlier this year YI published A Blueprint for Higher Education Equity, a series of policy recommendations to improve access, success, and post-college outcomes for students of color.

April 2017 Monthly Jobs Analysis

 

April Jobs
 
Young adult unemployment dipped down to 5.7 percent in April from 5.8 percent in March, driven both by a reduction in the labor force and the number of unemployed. Just over 3 million young adults are actively looking for a job but haven’t found one.
 
One interesting and potentially disturbing trend pops out from this report: the young adult Latino unemployment rate dropped to 5.2 percent from 5.7 percent, but was driven by nearly 250,000 young Latinos leaving the labor force. This reverses the trend from the last two months: 112,000 young Latinos entered the workforce in February, and another 126,000 in March. This estimate is adjusted for the season, but March to April doesn’t usually demonstrate the same volatility that the December holidays or summer season shows. Whether this is a larger trend reflecting the administration’s hostility to Latinos is unclear.

 

January 2017 Monthly Jobs Analysis

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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.

December 2016 Monthly Jobs Analysis

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.

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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.

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While 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.

November 2016 Monthly Jobs Analysis

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October 2016 Monthly Jobs Analysis

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Overall, unemployment for millennial-age workers is 35% higher than for the population at large, and pay, while finally beginning to rise, is still lower than it was before the recession, Young Invincibles data show. But the numbers are at least moving in the right direction: The unemployment rate ticked down to 6.6% for workers age 18-34 in October from 6.7% in September, and 55,000 jobs (outside of agriculture) were added. Even better, the reason the unemployment rate fell is because more young workers found jobs rather than giving up and leaving the labor force, Allison says. “The big picture is pretty encouraging,” he says.

Excerpt from Barron’s Next: Looking for a Job? Here’s Where to Find One (11/4/2016)

September 2016 Monthly Jobs Analysis

Earlier this month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released the monthly jobs report for September. The unemployment rate for young adults aged 18-to-34 stayed flat at 6.7 percent (seasonably adjusted).  The rate remains above the national average of 5.0 percent.

Below are the race and ethnicity breakouts for young adults (not seasonably adjusted):

  • African American: 11.1 percent
  • Latino: 7.4 percent
  • Asian or Pacific Islander: 5.0 percent

We’ve covered the slow but steady recovery for young adults in the job market in previous posts. Don’t forget that in June 2013, young adult unemployment was at 10.4 percent, with 2.9 million fewer young adults working today. Looking even further back to the depths of the recession in September 2009, young adult unemployment was at 13.0 percent.

But for these young adults who are working now, how much are they earning from those new jobs? New Census data released last month showed real (adjusted for inflation)  median income rising for the first time since 2007. We crunched the numbers for young adults and saw similar trends. Real median earnings for workers aged 18-to-34 rose $1,000 to $14,000, while 25-to-34 year-olds’ earnings rose $2,000 to $35,000.

So young adults got a raise last year. That’s good. Only problem is, after adjusting for inflation, young adults are still earning less than they did before the recession in 2007. And these declines are steeper for them than for older workers. As the table shows below, our youngest workers make 6 percent >lessthan they did in 2007. This compares to only a 1 percent decline for workers 35 and older. Fortunately 25-to-34 year olds median income rose 2 percent during this time.

Median Earnings Since Recession (2007 to 2015)
Age 2007 2015 % Change
18-24 $ 14,820 $ 14,000 -6%
25-34 $ 34,200 $ 35,000 2%
35+ $ 43,320 $ 43,000 -1%
Young Invincibles Current Population Survey, adjusted to 2015 dollars

Young Invincibles will release new research exploring the implications of these income declines, with a close look at education attainment, student debt, and demographic equity. Beyond income, we’ll also look at wider indicators of financial security, like home ownership, saving for retirement, and asset accumulation. Stay tuned.

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August 2016 Monthly Jobs Analysis

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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