Worst Since World War II: 50% Unemployment: Over Six Million Teens and Young Adults Are Out of Work and Not In School
December 4th, 2012
Amid a worsening fiscal crisis, a crumbling economy, and the destruction of over 40% of America’s wealth in just the last few years, it should be quite clear that this is no ordinary recession. In fact, with progressively dwindling job opportunities, a long-term downward trend in real estate prices, and the near doubling of participation in emergency benefits programs like food stamps and disability, one could make the argument that the United States is smack-dab in the middle of the next Great Depression.
The notion that we are potentially facing a decades-long paradigm shift which threatens to alter the very fabric of American life is becoming a stark reality for many, especially America’s younger generations who, according to a new report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, are experiencing the highest jobless rates since at least World War II:
Forty years ago, a teenager leaving high school — with or without a diploma — could find a job in a local factory. Twenty years ago, even as manufacturing jobs moved offshore, young people could still gain a foothold in the workforce through neighborhood stores and restaurants. Amid the housing boom of the past decade, youth with some training could find a career track in the construction field. But today — with millions of jobs lost and experienced workers scrambling for every available position — America’s young people stand last in line for jobs.
Youth employment is at its lowest level since World War II; only about half of young people ages 16 to 24 held jobs in 2011. Among the teens in that group, only 1 in 4 is now employed, compared to 46 percent in 2000.
Overall, 6.5 million people ages 16 to 24 are both out of school and out of work, statistics that suggest dire consequences for financial stability and employment prospects in that population.