09/24/2021

Wanted: Jobs for the New ‘Lost’ Generation

But the recovery has left many young people behind. The official unemployment rate for Americans under age 25 was 15.6% in August, down from a peak of nearly 20% in 2010 but still more than 2½ times the rate for those 25 and older—a gap that has widened during the recovery. Moreover, the unemployment rate ignores the hundreds of thousands of young people who have taken shelter from the weak job market by going to college, enrolling in training programs or otherwise sitting on the sidelines. Add them back in, and the unemployment rate for Americans under 25 would be over 20%.

Even those lucky enough to be employed are often struggling. Little more than half are working full time—compared with about 80% of the population at large—and 12% earn minimum wage or less. The median weekly wage for young workers has fallen more than 5% since 2007, after adjusting for inflation; for those 25 and older, wages have stayed roughly flat.

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