Research has shown that:
Working during the high school years increases future employment and earnings.
Some of the work programs have been successful in increasing school attendance and retention, improving school grades, and developing positive attitudes toward work and career knowledge.
Reasons for Youth Unemployment
1. Lack of qualifications:
Young people without any skills are more likely to be unemployed. To some extent more unskilled jobs such as bar work, supermarket checkout and waiters have been offered. However, the nature of the labour market is that many young people lack the necessary skills and training to impress employers.
2. Geographical Unemployment:
Youth unemployment is often focused in certain areas – usually inner cities where there is a cycle of low achievement and low expectations. For example, the employment rate for 16-24 year olds is only 64% in the North East compared to a national average of 70%
3. Cultural/Social Factors:
Youth unemployment is often highest amongst deprived areas where there is pessimism over job prospects. Youth unemployment is often higher among people who have history of broken families, drug use or criminal record.
4. Underground Economy:
Official Unemployment may occur in areas where there is a thriving black economy. i.e. there are unofficial jobs for people to take. These jobs may be illegal such as dealing in soft drugs.
Hysteresis is the idea that past unemployment trends are likely to cause future unemployment. If young people have been unemployed in the past, it becomes increasingly difficult to get a job. This is because:
Lack of jobs may cause young workers to become demotivated
A lack of past employment may cause firms to be unwilling to hire in the first place.
Unemployment means workers don’t have the opportunity to learn skills and on the job training.
Employment & Unemployment Among Youth - Summer 2019
State of Entry Level Employment in the United States
Updated 1:30 PM ET, Fri August 17, 2018
As a percentage of the overall population, the number of people aged 16-24 who are either working or looking for work fell from a high of 69.1% in 1979 to a low of 54.1% in 2014.
It has only rebounded slightly since then, to 55.5% in July 2018.
The numbers are even lower for teens. Their labor force participation rate peaked at 59.3% in 1978, and in 2014 reached a low of 32.6%. Still, the unemployment rate for teens was 13.1% in July, which is also the lowest July rate since 1969.
There are lots of reasons behind this decline in youth employment.
One is that young people are more focused on activities that are more likely to get them into a good college, like summer internships, volunteering, camps and classes. Another is that as the rural population has declined and agriculture has become more mechanized, the original reason for summer vacation -- working in the fields -- has become less necessary.
Through the recession, teens and young adults faced an additional challenge: People laid off from other jobs were competing for the same positions in food service and retail that had traditionally soaked up kids who are off for the summer. As the labor market has strengthened, however, those jobs have again become more available.
Still, workforce experts have worried about the decline in youth employment because having a job at a young age is a good indicator of career success down the road.
"Learning how to function in a work environment—to be responsible, assess situations, accept feedback, identify when to seek assistance, and so on—are best learned through direct experience," a Brookings Institution report read in 2015.
For that reason, many cities have started or beefed up summer youth employment programs to create subsidized jobs at government agencies and participating companies. It keeps kids out of trouble during the long hot months between the last and first days of school, and gives them that first line on a resume that helps land the next job, and the next.