The Collapse of the National Teen Job Market and the Case for An Immediate Summer and Year Round Youth Jobs Creation Program

Sum, A.,
Khatiwada, I.,
McLaughlin, J.,
Palma, S.
Paper/Research Report
Year Published: 2008
Center for Labor Market Studies
Center for Labor Market Studies

The nation's unemployment rate in January and February 2008 averaged 4.9%. A weakened labor market is not news to America's teens (16-19), who have experienced declining employment rates since the mid summer of 2006. Declines in teen employment rates between 2000 and 2007 were widespread across age, gender, race-ethnic, educational attainment, household income, and geographic subgroups. Declines in employment rates were larger for the youngest teens (16-17) and for men than women. The success of teens in finding any type of job last year, however, also differed considerably across schooling, race-ethnic and household income groups.

A variety of national, state and local strategies can be adopted to promote teen employment opportunities during the school year and summer. The authors advocate for the immediate reinstitution of the Summer Youth Employment Program, and recommend that all state and local WIA Workforce Investment Boards be immediately called upon by the U.S. Department of Labor to develop comprehensive strategies for placing more teens and young adults in jobs during both the summer and school year.

Sheila Palma Center for Labor Market Studies Northeastern University 315 Holmes Hall 360 Huntington Ave. Boston, MA 02115; Telephone: 617-373-2242; Website:
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