Youth Unemployment Hit A Record High This Summer

Experienced professionals aren't the only workers struggling to find jobs.

In July, 51.1 percent of Americans between the ages of 16 and 24 years old were unemployed, according to new data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). This marks the first time since 1948, when the government first started collecting this data, that less than half of all U.S. youth were employed in July.

Each year from April to July, the youth labor force grows sharply as high school and college students -- and recent graduates -- search for summer jobs. This summer, the youth labor force grew by 2.4 million to a total of 22.9 million in July, which is typically the summertime peak for youth employment, while the number of youths employed grew 1.8 million to 18.6 million, according to the BLS.

Though the increase in youth employment was slightly larger than last year's increase of 1.6 million, the percentage of the total youth population that was employed in July dropped 2.5 percentage points to 48.9 percent. This percentage has dropped by about 20 percentage points since its peak in July 1989. And, as the Wall Street Journal notes, rampant youth unemployment is not just an American problem.

Among major demographic groups in the U.S., the jobless rates for young men (20.5 percent), young African-Americans (33.4 percent), and young Asian-Americans (21.6 percent) continued to rise from a year earlier. The unemployment rates for young women (17.5 percent), young whites (16.2 percent), and young Hispanics (22.1 percent) hardly changed, the BLS reports.

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