Youth Unemployment Is at Highest Sustained Level Since World War II

Real youth unemployment is at 16.1 percent, the highest sustained rate since World War II. As the non-partisan youth advocacy group Generation Opportunity notes,

  • The [official] youth unemployment rate for 18-29 year olds for April 2013 is 11.1 percent (NSA).
  • The effective unemployment rate is 16.1 percent, which adjusts for labor participation rate by including those who have given up looking for work. The declining labor force participation rate has created an additional 1.7 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.
  • The April 2013 youth unemployment rate for 18-29 year old African-Americans is 20.4 percent (NSA).

Evan Feinberg of Generation Opportunity argues that “It is a rough time to be a young person in America. . . with about 2 million college students graduating this month, there is no sign of an economic recovery for my generation. Half of all graduating seniors aren’t going to find meaningful work in the coming months.”

The New York Times noted that the most recent jobs “numbers mask a stubborn jobs problem.” “The economy continues to add jobs in proportion to population growth. Nothing less, nothing more.” But “job activity does not seem to be accelerating.” “Construction employment has barely budged.” And in “Europe, policy makers delivered a grim forecast.”

AEI’s James Pethokoukis argues that lousy jobs growth has been artificially concealed due to Obamacare, which replaces full-time jobs with part-time jobs, resulting in a typical newly-created job being of less economic value than previous jobs. We discussed earlier how official unemployment figures conceal rising joblessness, as Obamacare strangles job creation. Other government mandates are also hurting hiring. For example, the EEOC, which flouts federal laws, is discouraging hiring by creating a bad legal climate for employers.