As the U.S. labor market recovers from the Great Recession, businesses are hiring new workers and taking advantage of emerging opportunities. In fact, the unemployment rate is below five percent for the first time since 2007. Unfortunately, young workers are not benefitting from the improved economy at the same rate as the overall workforce.
People between the ages of 20-24 are unemployed at a rate nearly double the national average and the jobless rate for those between the ages of 16-19 is nearly triple the national rate. Disconnected and at-risk youth have more difficulty finding employment, earn less throughout their career, are more likely to be incarcerated, and are more likely to be young parents than their peers who are in school or working. Youth unemployment also leads to lost income tax revenue, a greater burden on safety net programs, and increased expenses associated with higher crime levels. Connecting these younger populations to high-quality employment and training opportunities is critical to ensure that the next generation of workers can access the same economic opportunities as generations before.