THE DEAD END KIDS

September 30, 2009

The number of young Americans without a job has exploded to 52.2 percent -- a post-World War II high, according to the Labor Dept. -- meaning millions of Americans are staring at the likelihood that their lifetime earning potential will be diminished and, combined with the predicted slow economic recovery, their transition into productive members of society could be put on hold for an extended period of time, says the New York Post.

  • The number represents the flip-side to the Labor Dept.'s report that the employment rate of 16-to-24 year olds has eroded to 47.83 percent -- the lowest ratio of working young Americans in that age group, including all but those in the military, since WWII.
  • And worse, without a clear economic recovery plan aimed at creating entry-level jobs, the odds of many of these young adults -- aged 16 to 24, excluding students -- getting a job and moving out of their parents' houses are long.
  • Young workers have been among the hardest hit during the current recession -- in which a total of 9.5 million jobs have been lost.

"It's an extremely dire situation in the short run," said Heidi Shierholz, an economist with the Washington-based Economic Policy Institute.  "This group won't do as well as their parents unless the jobs situation changes."

  • During previous recessions, in the early '80s, early '90s and after Sept. 11, 2001, unemployment among 16-to-24 year olds never went above 50 percent.
  • Except after 9/11, jobs growth followed within two years.
  • A much slower recovery is forecast today; Shierholz believes it could take four or five years to ramp up jobs again.

A study from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, a government database, said the damage to a new career by a recession can last 15 years.  And if young Americans are not working and becoming productive members of society, they are less likely to make major purchases -- from cars to homes -- thus putting the U.S. economy further behind the eight ball.

Source: Richard Wilner, "The dead end kids," New York Post, September 28, 2009.

For text:

http://www.nypost.com/p/news/business/the_dead_end_kids_AnwaWNOGqsXMuIlGONNX1K

 

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