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The Collapse of the Nation’s Labor Market for Teens and Young Adults (20-24): Designing A Set of Workforce Development Strategies to Improve the Immediate and Long-Term Employment Prospects of the Nation’s Youth. Andrew Sum Center for Labor Market Studies Northeastern University

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andrew sum center for labor market studies northeastern university boston massachusetts may 2009

The Collapse of the Nation’s Labor Market for Teens and Young Adults (20-24): Designing A Set of Workforce Development Strategies to Improve the Immediate and Long-Term Employment Prospects of the Nation’s Youth

Andrew Sum

Center for Labor Market Studies

Northeastern University

Boston, Massachusetts

May 2009

slide2
The Collapse of the Teen and Young Adult Job Market in the U.S.: The Case for A Comprehensive Workforce Development System Response
  • An overview of the steep unprecedented declines in teen and young adult employment rates in the U.S. since 2000 and during the current recession: we have achieved record low employment rates for the entire post-World-War II era, especially for men
  • These sharp drops in employment rates have taken place among all major groups of teens, including men and women, members of each major race-ethnic group, educational attainment, and family income group
  • There are very high underutilization rates for teens and young adults that go far beyond the official unemployment statistics
  • Why we should care about the severe loss in both the quantity and quality of teen and young adult employment prospects. The economic, educational, and social advantages of maintaining high employment rates for teens and young adults
  • The implications of these findings for the design and administration of future youth workforce development policies and programs
slide3

An Overview of Key Developments in the Nation’s Teen and Young Adult Labor Markets from 2000 to 2008 and During the Current Economic Recession

  • The civilian labor force participation and employment rates of the nation’s teens (16-19) and young native born adults (20-24) fell sharply and steeply from 2001 through 2003; their E/P ratios fell more steeply than any other age group by far
  • Teen employment was only marginally affected by national job growth from 2003 to 2006 and then began to decline in the fall of 2006 well before the onset of the national recession. The teen E/P ratio fell considerably from the fall of 2007 to first quarter of 2009, by January-April period, under 30% of the nation’s teens were employed, lowest rate in post-World War II history
  • Between 2000 and 2008, teen employment rate declines were overwhelming; their E/P rate fell by 15 percentage points from November-December 2000 to November-December 2008
continued
Continued
  • Teen employment declines were severe in every major demographic and socioeconomic group; young college students affected the least, high school students and high school dropouts the most
  • Employment rates of teens in 2008 were lowest among the young (16-17), males, Blacks and Asians, and low income youth
  • Among 20-24 year olds, employment rates in 2008 were nearly 5 percentage points below 2000 among all youth; by January 2009, young males were employed at rates 10 to 12 percentage points below those of early 2001; record low employment rates for young 20-24 year old males; high school dropouts and graduates with no college have fared the worst in the labor market
continued5
Continued
  • E/P ratios of young college graduates have remained quite high (the smallest declines) but a very high and growing fraction of them are mal-employed, working at jobs that do not require a college degree; the mal-employment rates of the nation’s young college graduates (25 and under) have intensified during the past 18 months. Only 50% of BA degree holders (25 and under) were working in a college labor market job in the first 3 months of this year.
slide6

Trends in the Employment/Population Ratios of the Nation’s Teens (16-19) Between 2000 and 2009(Annual Averages, Except 2009 Which is January – April)

(1) This employment rate for teens is the lowest ever record in post-World War II history.

slide7

Trends in the Employment/Population Ratios of the Nation’s Teens (16-19) During Selected Summers Between 2000 and 2008(June-August Averages, Not Seasonally Adjusted)

slide8
Trends in the Employment-Population Ratios of Male Teens in the U.S., 1979 to 2009(Annual Averages, Except 2009, in %)
slide9
The Employment/Population Ratios of Male and Female Teens in the U.S., Selected Years 1979 to 2009(Annual Averages, Except 2009, in %)
the employment population ratios of teens 16 19 by their family income january march 2009 in
The Employment/Population Ratios of Teens (16-19) by Their Family Income, January – March 2009(in %)
slide11
Employment/Population Ratios of 16-19 Year Olds in Selected Race/Ethnic/Family Income Groups in the U.S., January-March 2009(in %)
  • Middle to upper middle income Whites and Hispanics are most likely to work; 3* as likely as low income Black teens. Middle income Blacks are 2.3* as likely to work as low income Blacks.
slide12
Employment/Population Ratios of 16-19 Year Old Teens in the First Quarter of 2009, Bottom Ten and Top Ten States(in %)

Top ten states have an E/P ratio for teens that was twice as high as bottom ten states.

slide13

Changes in the Employment Levels of U.S. Adults (16 and Older) All and by Selected Major Age Groups, October-November 2007 to March April 2009 (Seasonally Adjusted, in Millions)

Note: (1) Data for this age group are not seasonally adjusted.

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, CPS household survey, web site, tabulations by authors.

slide14
Trends in the Employment/Population Ratios of 20-24 Year Old Men and Women in the U.S., Selected Years, 2000-2009(in %)
slide15

Trends in the Employment/Population Ratios of 20-24 Year Old Men in the U.S., Selected Years, 2000-2009(Annual Averages, Except 2009, in %)

*Lowest ever recorded in U.S., history since 1948.

labor underutilization problems among the nation s teens 16 19 in the january march period of 2009
Labor Underutilization Problems Among the Nation’s Teens (16-19) in the January-March Period of 2009
slide17
Labor Underutilization Rates of the Nation’s 16-19 Year Olds by Gender and Major Race-Ethnic Group, January-March 2009(in %)
slide18
Labor Underutilization Rates of the Nation’s 16-19 Year Olds by Household Income, January to March 2009
slide19

Labor Force Underutilization Rates Among the Nation’s Teens (16-19) by School Enrollment/Educational Level in the January-March Period of 2009 (in %)

slide20
The Potential Educational, Labor Market, and Social Impacts of Expanded Employment for theNation’s Teens and Young Adults (20-24)
  • In-school employment for economically disadvantaged males, especially Blacks and Hispanics, helps increase their high school graduation rate
  • In-school employment with work-based learning opportunities increases students awareness of the links between high school curriculum and world of work requirements; can increase commitment to school work and strengthen employability skills
  • Improves the transition from high school to the labor market upon graduation from high school, including higher employment rates, higher wages, and earnings
continued21
Continued
  • More intensive employment during teen years and early 20s increase likelihood of receiving apprenticeship training and formal training from employers in your early to mid 20s; these training investments raise wages and earnings
  • Local areas characterized by higher employment rates for teenaged girls have lower teen pregnancy rates
  • Local labor markets with higher employment rates and wages for boys reduces their involvement with criminal justice system, particularly for assault/battery and property crimes, reduces attraction of drug sales among inner city youth
what can be done to bolster teen and young adult employment prospects in short and long run
What Can Be Done to Bolster Teen and Young Adult Employment Prospects in Short and Long Run
  • A need to expand both year-round and summer job opportunities for teens and young adults; greater long-term effects on youth from year round employment
  • Use WIA monies including stimulus dollars to create both year-round and summer subsidized job opportunities for teens and young adults
    • Have the U.S. Congress allow the summer monies be used to fund job developers for jobs for all teens in the private sector and to experiments with wage subsidies for private, for profit sector employers
  • Mandate all ARRA funded projects list their new job openings with one stop career centers, have out-of-school teens and young adults be assigned a priority for referral to such openings
    • Use part of the ARRA stimulus monies for infrastructure/green technology investment for training of jobless youth and adults
continued23
Continued
  • Expand school-to-work (e.g., Jobs for America’s Graduates) and connective activities programs, and Career Academies programs for more high school youth to facilitate their transition to the labor market upon graduation from high school
  • Strengthen in-school and summer internships, cooperative education programs, and job development/placement programs for college students in 2 year and 4 year colleges and universities to increase their employment in college labor market jobs upon graduation. These job placements will substantially increase the private and social rates of return to college investments
slide24

Estimating the Impact of Summer WIA Job Creation Programs for Teens and Young Adults on Their Overall Employment/Population Ratio for the Year

∆ E Ratio = Number of youth Number of Net jobs Mean

P 14-24 assigned to * 16-24 Year Old * created per * months in

jobs under the programParticipantsin program program

Eligible youth 100 Total 12

Participants

14-24

  • Assumptions underlying our estimate of the employment impact of summer jobs programs under WIA in 2009
  • 400,000 youth 14-24 will be assigned to the program
  • 95 of every 100 jobs will go to 16-24 year olds
  • 90 of every 100 jobs created by the program will be net new jobs for youth
  • Average job will last 8-9 weeks, or two months
continued25
Continued

Solving for Change in

the E/P Ratio for all = 400,000 * .95 * .90 * 2

16-24 Years Olds in 38,000,000 12

the Nation

= .15 percentage points

Annual average E/P ratio

would change from .48.5% to 48.6%, a gain of .1 percentage points

The estimated employment impact could be increased by focusing programs only on 16-21 years old, targetting services most heavily on at-risk youth to maximize net job creation effect, allocating monies to hire job specialists to development unsubsidized jobs for youth, subsidizing jobs for teens in the private for profit sector.

continued26
Continued

This is only a very modest impact of summer WIA jobs programs on the year-round employment rate of 16-24 year olds. Reasons for the modest impact are the following the:

  • For economically disadvantaged youth, the impact will be up to 7* higher
  • Size of job creation program is small-only 1 percent of the entire 16-24 youth population are served by the program
  • Summer program is only creating jobs for 2 of the 12 months during the year; a year-round jobs creation program is needed to substantially boost the E/P ratio of teens and young adults
  • There is always some substitution effect of jobs creation programs even among economically disadvantaged teens; past research has shown the displacement effects of job creation programs to be lowest for teens.