Recession takes a heavy toll of American teenagers

Teenagers have found it significantly harder to get a job since the recession began in late 2007, with black youths and young people from low-income families faring the worst, wrote Andrew Sum of Northeastern University in Boston, a employment researcher commissioned by Chicago Urban League and Alternative Schools Network.
“Low-income and minority youth, who depended on part-time jobs as a significant stepping stone to future employment, have been forced out of the job market and economically marginalised,” Herman Brewer of Chicago Urban League said.

School dropouts
Overall, 26 per cent of American teenagers aged 16 to 19 had jobs in late 2009, said the report, which was based on US Census Bureau data. That figure is a record low since statistics began to be kept in 1948, the researchers said. Employment counts the number of people with a job as a percentage of the entire work force. By contrast, the unemployment rate — which stood at 10 per cent in December in the United States — does not include people who have grown discouraged and stopped looking for work.
Joblessness was particularly rife among high school dropouts aged 16 to 24 who were neither in school nor holding a job, the report said. Family income also had a influence on joblessness.

Only 13 per cent of low-income black teenagers in Illinois held a job in 2008 compared with 48 per cent of more affluent white, non-Hispanic teens.
The “disconnection rate” — Americans aged 20 to 24 who were neither in school nor working — jumped to 28 per cent last year from 17 per cent in 2007. “If you included those in prison it would be a couple of points higher,” said report’s co-author Joseph McLaughlin of Northeastern.

Among proposals the report supported were government-funded jobs programmes directed at the young, additional funding to help re-enroll school dropouts, and government-funded expansions of work internships.

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