The Youth Workforce: A Detailed Picture

Brief

The Youth Workforce: A Detailed Picture

Abstract

The share of people ages 16–24 working is very low relative to historical standards: the national youth labor force participation rate was 55.5 percent in July 2018, down from 69.1 percent in 1979. Youth employment experiences can lead to positive long-term outcomes, and the decrease in young people gaining these experiences is triggering what has been called a “youth employment crisis.” In this brief, we provide a detailed snapshot of youth employment between January and December 2013, using data from the first wave of the 2014 Survey of Income and Program Participation. When focusing on disparities in employment outcomes across race and ethnicity, by sex, and by age, we find that young people of color and young women had lower employment rates and lower average wages than their counterparts. We also examine the industry sectors of employment among youth workers and rates of disconnection from both school and work. Our findings could inform the effective targeting of youth workforce development efforts.

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