Friday, June 3, 2011

1 in 6 young Americans out of work

Organization pushing for a national discussion about the problems in the youth labor market.

Mathew Segal, OUR TIME
WASHINGTON, D.C.The Dept. of Labor today released the May unemployment figures, which showed an increase in unemployment to 16.5% for Americans ages 18-24. Joblessness and underemployment continues to surge as workers under 30 have seen a 70% of net reduction in employment during the recession as the college graduating class of 2011 looks into an unemployed future piled with debt.

Matthew Segal, co-founder and president of OUR TIME, a national membership organization that serves the interests of Americans under 30, said, "Clearly, young Americans want to work. We are scrappy, entrepreneurial, and determined. OUR TIME is putting names and faces to a group of workers who are being overlooked. This country needs to have a national conversation about the problems in the youth labor market."

Currently, thereare five times as many unemployed workers as there are jobs. In the recession, young workers are disproportionately represented in the ranks of the unemployed. One-in-six young Americans are currently unemployed, and millions more are looking for full-time work. A 2010 analysis of the youth labor market by the Economic Policy Institute reported:

· Workers under age 30 accounted for 70 percent of the net reduction in employment during this recession

· Workers under 30 are 2.5 times as likely to be affected by job loss than any other age group.

Suffering from unemployment at a young age has long lasting effects. Studies link early unemployment to lower lifetime income, family instability, and decreased happiness later in life.

Segal continued, “The most educated, most tech-savvy and information affluent generation in the history of the world enjoys an unemployment rate almost double the national average. One doesn’t need a Phd in economics to understand that a lack of political clout and age discrimination are alive and well in today’s public policy arena and job market.”

The LA Times yesterday ran former Secretary of Labor, Robert Reich’s editorial piece on the silent jobless in America stating, “You'd think the American public would be demanding government action (….) but we're not hearing much clamor for any of this. One reason is that those who remain unemployedhave little or no political clout.” Explaining how women, blacks and “many young people who have never been in the job market and are unable to land afirst job. Employers who have their pick of applicants see no reason to hiresomeone without a track record, particularly those without much education.”

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