by Rory O’Sullivan
Last month, the economy added 175,000 jobs while the national unemployment rate ticked up to 7.6% from 7.5% last month. For millennials ages 18 to 29, the unemployment rate rose from 11.1% in April 2013 to 11.6% in May 2013 (not seasonally adjusted), according to Generation Opportunity, wiping out the previous month’s gains. For younger workers ages 16 to 24, the unemployment rate rose .2 percentage points to 16.3% (seasonally adjusted).
This is bad news heading into June. Summer is a time when many younger adults get their first jobs. Early work experience is vital not just for earning a little spending money, but also for building a successful career down the road. Moreover, the country as a whole benefits from higher individual wages because it means more taxes paid and less reliance on public benefits.
However, the dismal youth job market continues to deny our generation essential opportunities – and teens are among the hardest hit. Since the start of the recession in 2008, teen unemployment has remained well over 20%, and it’s not looking good going into summer this year. Right now, 16 to 19 year olds face a 24.1% unemployment rate. Worse still, this figure only takes into account teens who are looking for jobs, ignoring discouraged teens who have stopped looking for work entirely. The true teen jobless rate is much higher. Rampant teen unemployment threatens serious long-term consequences for the future of the country.
The Economic Policy Institute recently took a look at how teen unemployment affects communities across the country. See how your state stacks up by visiting their interactive map.
If you want to do something about the problem, come join us at Young Invincibles. We’re working with job training programs across the country to educate people about the ongoing youth employment crisis and the solutions available to solve it.