Youth Unemployment: That Big of a Deal?We hear a lot of talk about youth unemployment, but what does that really mean and how important is that statistic?
By: Jack Schuleman , Sibley Scribe
Summer jobs have long been a staple of teen life. Mowing lawns. Movie theaters. Fast food. All are powered by the limitless energy of youth and their need for money. However, youth unemployment has been an issue since the “Great Recession,” and not just here in the United States; here the rate is about 18%, compared to countries like Germany with 7.6% (the lowest in Europe) or Spain with 52% (Europe’s highest). The important thing to remember, though, is that these numbers are not the total rate among an entire age group; rather, they describe 15-24 year- olds, who either had a job and don’t anymore, or want to get a job but cannot find one. This doesn’t just include teens trying to find a summer job, but recent graduates of high school or college trying to find permanent employment.
In the summer of 2010, the unemployment rate for the age range of 16-19 year-olds was around 25%, the highest since World War Two. So what gives? Why is it so hard for teens to get a job? One answer lies in another problem: the total unemployment rate. In Minnesota, it recently got down to around nine percent, and has been dropping steadily over the course of the past four years after a spike in 2008. With more and more available adults in the workforce competing for jobs, teens can’t compete with the amount of experience and references available to somebody who has been in the workplace for much more time. They are less experienced, often low skilled, and in some countries, they are easier to terminate. What’s more, with the decrease of funding from the Recovery Act of 2009, some public jobs such as working in a library may no longer be paid for.
Despite all this things should get better in the coming years. This is thanks to strategic economic planning, companies adding more jobs each year, adults having a chance to get back into something similar to what they had before, and leaving “entry level” jobs open for younger people. In the past couple of years, adults had been hired for the typically teen-filled part-time positions, but according to the Huffington Post nearly two-thirds of jobs added to the economy between August and October of 2011 went to Americans between the ages of 16 and 24.
So, even if the dog days aren’t over yet, we’re getting there.