Work Remains Elusive for Young Americans

Work Remains Elusive for Young Americans
File photo by Alex Thamer/L.A. Weekly Flickr pool

Young Americans continue to struggle in today's job market.

The latest Millennial Jobs Report by Generation Opportunity, a national, nonpartisan youth-advocacy organization, shows that unemployment remained virtually the same among young adult workers, even as the economy showed signs of improvement and job creation was on the rise overall.

The report coincides with Labor Day, the annual celebration of America's workforce.

Generation Opportunity found that 13.2 percent of workers ages 18 to 29 are effectively out of work. This includes people who have stopped job-hunting.

The federal government's key labor metric doesn't count those folks. Generation Opportunity also looked at young adults who are unsuccessfully looking for work (and not those who have dropped out of the job market), and found that the rate is 8.1 percent.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says the comparable national rate for all working ages is 5.1 percent, the lowest in seven years.

Generation Opportunity said in a statement that the number of young people off the American labor market altogether is huge:

The declining labor force participation rate has created an additional 1.767 million young adults that are not counted as “unemployed” by the U.S. Department of Labor because they are not in the labor force, meaning that those young people have given up looking for work due to the lack of jobs.

Nearly one in 10 African-Americans age 18 to 29 (17.6 percent) is effectively unemployed, the organization says. That number includes those who have stopped looking for work. For Latinos that number is 13.6 percent. For women, it's 11 percent.

"Millions of millennials have no work to celebrate this Labor Day weekend," says Generation Opportunity spokeswoman Patrice Lee. "Lacking employable skills that can lead to a good job, college grads and nongrads still struggle to find a job in this economic recovery."

More than 20 Southern California labor organizations will celebrate the holiday today at Working Californians’ fourth annual Nightshift concert at Exposition Park.

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