August 21, 2012. A lot has been written about people in their ‘50’s who get laid off and can’t find work for years, but there’s an age group doing lots worse, lots worse. The group is young people, teenagers and young adults. An article that came out today is called “The Collapse of the Labor Market for 16– to 24–Year–Olds”. It was written by two economists of Drexel University for the site of the Federal Rerserve of Philadelphia.
“The employment rate of young adults 16 to 19 years of age declined from 45 percent in 2000 to 35 percent in 2007. Since 2007, the employment rate has fallen another 9 percentage points, to 26 percent in 2010 — which is a historical low. “
“In 2010, only one in four teens and six out of 10 young adults in the nation were employed.” It was worse in Philadelphia. In that year only 18 of 100 teenagers had work.
There were 3.8 million jobs created since beginning of 2010 (official end of Great recession), but ironically most of those jobs have been going to older workers, even jobs that used be held by young people.
One of the things that young people are doing is going to college in record numbers. 70% of high school graduates are now college bound, the biggest increase going to community colleges. This may only delay their problems, however, because so many people can’t find work in their field of study.
Economists have a word: “mal-employment”. It means people working at jobs far below their training. Mal-employment of people in ages 25-29 rose from 26% to 30% during Great Recession and is getting worse. It rose to 31.5% during winter-spring of 2012.
Another way to look at it is to realize the percent of young college grads working in a “college labor market job” dropped from 54% to 44% over the last five years.
There are millions of young people out of work or working far below their skills and education. This should be fertile ground to plant the seeds of wisdom about the need to replace the creaking fixed game of capitalism with something better.