While the September jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics provided plenty of political ammunition it was also an ambiguous signal about the current labor market.
Young people, who are at a disadvantage when hiring is slack, tend to fare worse in such good news/bad news situations. They confront the same challenges as the working population overall but are not as well-positioned to endure them. In this case those obstacles include weak growth, persistent rates of long-term unemployment, and a substantial rise in workers holding part-time positions because they cannot find the full-time work they need.
Young adults have less job experience and lower savings than older workers, making them more likely to accept employment that provides the bare minimum they need to get by -- not the best situation for someone looking to launch a career or start a family. But in addition to sharing the challenges, this month workers ages 20 to 34 experienced the same positive outcomes as did the population as a whole -- more young adults are participating in the labor market and more of them have jobs.
For once the good news half of the situation translates to the young adult labor force.