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  • March 2010
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Teenage Unemployment

From the New York Times (September 4, 2009)

Teenage Jobless Rate Reaches Record High

This August, the teenage unemployment rate — that is, the percentage of teenagers who wanted a job who could not find one — was 25.5 percent, its highest level since the government began keeping track of such statistics in 1948. Likewise, the percentage of teenagers over all who were working was at its lowest level in recorded history.


  1. Recessions disproportionately hurt America’s youngest and most inexperienced workers, who are often the first to be laid off and the last to be rehired.
  2. Recent college graduates, unable to find higher-paying jobs, are working at places like Starbucks and Gap, taking jobs once held by their younger peers.
  3. The reluctance or inability of older workers to retire has led to less attrition and fewer opportunities for workers to move up a rung and make room for new workers at the bottom of the corporate ladder.
  4. The ability of more young people to rely on family may allow them to be pickier about jobs.
  5. With more students applying to college, the remaining pool of job applicants may be less desirable to employers.

What exactly is the unemployment rate?

Unemployment rate = unemployed/labor force

  • unemployed = an individual who does not have a job and is looking for work*
  • labor force = all those who are either employed are unemployed

NOTE: If you are not looking for a job (eg. stay-at-home parent, given up on finding a job), you do NOT count as unemployed even though you do not have a job.

More recently from the New York Times (March 6, 2010):

Jobless Rate Holds Steady, Raising Hopes of Recovery

The American economy lost fewer jobs than expected last month, bolstering hopes that the worst may finally be over in the wrenching event known as the Great Recession:

  1. Unemployment rate remained unchanged at 9.7%
  2. Nearly 15 million Americans were unemployed in February, and four in 10 had been there for six months or longer
  3. Economists are in roughly two camps (a) Some say a now-tepid economic recovery will eventually become vigorous (b) others envision a long slog through relatively anemic growth

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