Despite Promising National Unemployment Rate, Youth Unemployment Still High

By: Allison Nielsen | Posted: December 7, 2013 3:55 AM
Job Seeker

While the national rate showed promise for the unemployed in the U.S., the same couldn’t be said for the nation’s youth, whose November unemployment rate was more than double the national percentage at 15.9 percent.

Friday’s job numbers seemed to indicate hope to a nation that saw increased joblessness and economic devastation following the 2008 recession, with November’s unemployment rate falling to its lowest number -- 7 percent -- in five years.

But a new report released by Generation Opportunity, a national, nonpartisan youth advocacy organization, showed the effective unemployment rate for youth aged 18 to 29, which adjusts for labor force participation by including those who have given up looking for work, sat at a whopping 15.9 percent. This number has remained unchanged since October.

The overall unemployment rate for American youth was still 3 points higher than the national average, at 10 percent.

According to Generation Opportunity, the declining labor force participation rate has created an additional 1.844 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 unemployment rate for African-American youth was higher than the national rate, with the effective (U-6) rate sitting at 24.4 percent and the overall unemployment rate hovering at 17.9 percent.

Blacks aged 25 to 34 years old actually suffered a worse unemployment rate than they did a year ago. Data released Friday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed that in November 2013, black workers aged 25 to 34 had an unemployment rate of 13.6 percent, but in November 2012 the rate was 12.7 percent.

This is more than double the rate of white workers in the same age group who face a 5.9 percent unemployment rate.

Hispanic youth also saw a higher-than-average unemployment rate. The effective unemployment rate for Hispanics was 16.9 percent, while the overall unemployment rate was 10.9 percent.

Things seemed somewhat more hopeful for women aged 18 to 29, who had an unemployment rate lower than the average rate, with an effective unemployment rate of 13.8 percent and overall unemployment rate of 9.5 percent.

Generation Opportunity's President Evan Feinberg said November’s numbers indicated a serious problem for millennials in the workforce.

“The economy has been terrible for young people for five years now, and President Obama has responded by asking my generation to foot the bill for more government spending and pay more for health care coverage through Obamacare,” said Feinberg in a statement released Friday.

Feinberg went on to say American youth are quickly becoming disenchanted with the president, noting his approval rating with youth has plummeted to an all-time low.

"This disastrous health-care law has finally caught up with the president and his approval rating among young people is collapsing alongside Obamacare itself,” said Feinberg.

A poll of 18- to 29-year-olds released Wednesday by Harvard's Institute for Politics showed Obama had a 41 percent approval rating, a drop of 11 points since the last poll in April of this year.

Reach Tampa-based reporter Allison Nielsen at or follow her on Twitter at @AllisonNielsen.


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