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Kentucky state taxpayers most burdened by jobless youth

The Courier-Journal

By: Jere Downs

Persistently high unemployment among young people, including lost tax revenue and greater demand for social services, is a greater burden for Kentucky and Indiana taxpayers than other states, according to a study released Tuesday.

The tough job market for those 34 and younger has affected Kentucky the most in terms of lower tax collections and greater demand unemployment benefits, food stamps and other social programs, according to the study released by the Washington, D.C., non profit Young Invincibles. Next on the list were Alabama, North Carolina, Georgia and Mississippi.

Kentucky taxpayers foot an estimated $80.46 on their state and federal tax bill each year as a result of persistently high youth unemployment, the study concluded. With an estimated $68.18 annual cost to Hoosiers, Indiana had the 10th highest burden, according to the report.

Education, or the lack of it, in Kentucky’s failure to gain jobs or increase wages among younger workers, said Ron Crouch, director of research and statistics at the Kentucky Cabinet of Education Workforce Development.

“If you look at the national data, it clearly shows that education is a major factor in unemployment. We know that the southern states have the lowest education levels,” Crouch said.

For young adult males, the highest job growth is in lower-paying occupations, like retail and support services, Crouch said.