Labor Force Participation Rates for Young Adults During the Great Recession

Labor Force Participation Rates for Young Adults During the Great Recession

The decline in labor force participation pushed the unemployment rate for 25 to 34-year-olds down to 7.4 percent—lower than the national average. But 20 to 24-year-olds didn’t even get this statistical advantage. Even though they lost workers from the market in March, they lost plenty of jobs too, and unemployment for 20 to 24-year-olds actually climbed to 13.3 percent for the month.  

Young people have seen all this before. Last year, an unseasonably warm winter led to discrepancies in the mid-winter/early-spring data that showed big gains and then petered into another long summer of disaffected youth.  Labor force participation sank to levels unseen since women joined the labor market in force, and the rest of the year offered little to draw young people back to the job search. Another year like 2012 would be a devastating blow to young people and the future of our economy.

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