Young Americans – the 80 million Americans age 16-34 – have had a rough recession and an almost non-existent recovery. This is reinforced by the latest jobs report, which shows unemployment falling at the expense of labor force participation, now a historically low 70.9 percent. For young Americans age 16-24, labor force participation is just 54.8 percent. Looking ahead, is recovery ever coming?
Four telling facts about jobs and wages for young Americans suggest a labor market recovery is coming, although it will be gradual and uneven by educational attainment. Specifically, young Americans with a postsecondary degree are more likely to be employed, but the nature of their employment suggests they are taking lower-skill jobs at the expense of their less educated peers. These facts also suggest there is more that policymakers could be doing to boost young Americans’ long-term economic and financial well-being.