Youth Unemployment Crisis Will Have Long-Term Impacts

This week, the jobs numbers were released for June. While analysts and others try to paint a rosy picture of a path to economic recovery, a grim reality was again unacknowledged: youth unemployment.

According to a recent MarketWatch piece by Quentin Farrell:

Some 40 percent of unemployed workers are millennials, according to an analysis of U.S. Census data by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce released to MarketWatch, greater than Generation X (37 percent) and baby boomers (23 percent). That equates to 4.6 million unemployed millennials -- 2 million long-term -- 4.2 million unemployed Xers and 2.5 million jobless baby boomers.

That's right. Forty percent of those who should be entering the workforce for the first time or be working through their entry-level years are unemployed.

Youth unemployment continues to be a crisis here at home and abroad. It is the cause of instability, both financially and politically, as this generation remains unengaged by our economy and by our political system. The inability to find work impacts the ability to meet financial obligations and save for the future, delaying purchases and investments that propel our economy forward.

These numbers also shed light on another issue that may have more immediate economic impacts: the unemployment rate of Baby Boomers. Many workers who have been displaced after long-term employment have been unable to find new employment. Some of this can be attributed to the skills gap, and the inability of this sector of the workforce to find the support and resources necessary to attain skills that meet current market needs.

While the media often pits Millennials and Boomers against one another or portrays stark contrasts between the way that they work, the reality is that both generations are facing unprecedented levels of economic stagnation.

We fail the unemployed when we do not provide services for either the 25-year-old or the 55-year-old to find work. Whether it is apprenticeships, technical skills training or pioneer efforts to transition the unemployed to new industries, the time is now to act.