Tuesday, September 13, 2011

New Entrants to Workforce

The Bureau of Labor Statistics has some interesting data on the employment of youths in two categories: those aged 16 to 19 and those aged 16 to 24 (link). I thought I would reproduce the BLS chart on LaMarotte. In my monthly posting on employment gains, the talk is always about recovering jobs lost in the Great Recession. Not often mentioned is the fact that our young people are growing up and reaching that time when they want to get jobs for themselves. This graphic tell us how easy it has been for them, beginning in 1950, most recently in 2010—and in the period between.

In this period, the employment level of the older sub-group never dropped below 55 percent except in 1963 and 1964. The latest descent began in 2002—thus ahead of the recession—and looks like it will stay down there. The somewhat younger subgroup, and this includes all those who want to go to work out of high school (if they’ve gotten that far) is worse.

Recovering millions of adult jobs lost in the recession is one thing. Inability to employ our young is in another category of seriousness. It erodes a generation’s perceptions of what is possible.

1 comment:

  1. What has amazed me is the "professionalization" of some of the service area that used to be available to youths.

    Fast food joints come to mind. Many of them seem to be populated by the under-employed these days, or people on their second or third part time job.

    That shift has been around a while, it seemed to me to be starting 10 or so years ago.

    I suspect this is much like the trend to not hire the unemployed: An un-intended consequence of Employment costs, as well as the difficulty in firing poor performing employees, keeping out the untrained youth work force.

    The solution?

    I am intrigued by the two tier system in Michigan (UAW plants) where new hires can be hired at a lower rate than the prevailing wage, then escalated to a high rate later.

    Is it perfect? No, but it allows companies to manage the risk of hiring the wrong employee.