Report: Young Workers ‘Stuck’ in Long-term Jobs Crisis

A new Demos report finds that young workers are no better off than they were a year ago and are continuing to endure a jobs crisis even as the economy recovers.

“For many young people the promises of finding a good job, starting a family, or making a better life for themselves are all on hold as they struggle to locate any opportunity in an economy that is reluctant to provide the chances necessary for forward motion,” says the report entitled Stuck: Young America’s Persistent Jobs Crisis. “Instead, this generation of young adults spent 2012 striving for better positioning in a labor market that pushed them toward the sidelines, resulting in historically low labor force participation rates and more economic drag.”

According to the findings, young people are facing a jobs deficit of over four million jobs. If the economy continues to add jobs at the current rate it will be 2022 before the country recovers to full employment. Even then, workers under 25 will face unemployment rates double the national average.

Altogether, there are more than 5.6 million 18- to 34-year-olds who are willing and able to take a job and actively looking for work, but shut out of opportunities for employment, says the study. These young adults compose 45 percent of all unemployed Americans. An additional 4.7 million young people are underemployed—either working part time when they really want full-time positions or marginalized from the labor market altogether.

Young adult Hispanic workers are experiencing unemployment rates 25 percent higher than those of whites, while African American rates are approximately double.

Policy has the potential to reverse market failures and protect our collective future, concludes the report. Without it, “we risk a generation marked by the insecurities of the Great Recession for the rest of their working lives.”

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