News / Economy

Young Workers in US Face Dire Labor Market

US students
US students

Multimedia

The labor market in the United States is starting to show signs of recovery, but for many young workers the recovery is not happening fast enough.  Although the national unemployment rate is now the lowest it has been in two years, one study suggests the job prospects for 16 to 24-year-olds remains grim.

America's youth faces an increasingly uncertain future.  Despite a slowly improving job market, economist Heidi Shierholz at the Economic Policy Institute says young workers have yet to see similar gains.

"Young people across the board have never seen anything like this in 70 years," said Heidi  Shierholz. "Since the Great Depression we have not seen unemployment rates this high."

With unemployment rates more than twice the national average, Shierholz says the graduating Class of 2011 faces fierce competition for fewer jobs.

"New college grads are in direct competition with the cohort from last year and the cohort from the year before that, when the unemployment rate was also incredibly high, so there's just extremely stiff competition for new jobs for young people," she said.

George Washington University law student Elliot Reaven feels good about his career choices but he admits it is an intimidating economy for many students.

"I'm optimistic," said Elliot Reaven. "I think people are working on getting it better, but I think people are generally pretty discouraged right now and I'm with that sentiment."

Instead of having to compete against experienced workers for fewer entry level jobs, chemistry student Dan Foreman plans to ride out the storm until the economy improves.

"They're not looking too good right now, so I plan to go to grad[uate] school, get my Ph.D. and maybe then I'll have a more marketable degree," said Dan Foreman.

But times have changed.  Professor Ayman Tarabishy at GW's (George Washington University's) School of Business says degrees are no longer as important as marketable skills.    

"Don't just mention that you graduated from X school or Y school and this is the degree you have," said Professor Tarabishy. "What employers are looking for is what skills can you bring to the table right now, what impact can you have and what is your knowledge level."

Journalism student Nicole Mann graduates next year.  She says students must not lose sight of their goals, but she says they also need to be flexible.

"Even if you're offered a job that's outside of what you'd like to do, I would say, 'Yes,' and take it as much as you can because it can help lift you up in unexpected ways," said Nicole Mann.

"I think it's a wake up call  for everybody -  for the government, for parents, for employers, but also for the young people," said Tarabishy. "t's not business as usual anymore. Things change, there's new rules to the game and they need to figure it our very fast."

The Economic Policy Institute says the great tragedy is that young workers have fewer safety nets.
Shierholz says many graduating students who cannot find jobs will not qualify for unemployment benefits.

"Young workers who have essentially no other safety net - the labor market has been pulled out from under them," she said. "They end up having to depend on their family and friends who may themselves be having adverse labor market outcomes."

Shierholz says the good news is that job growth in the last six months has been consistently above numbers needed to keep up with normal population growth.  She says her biggest worry is the heated political climate in Washington that appears increasingly willing to sacrifice job growth to reduce the nation's growing debt.

You May Like

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Obesity Poses Complex Problem

Professor warns of obesity’s worldwide health impact More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam Wari
X
Katherine Gypson
May 25, 2015 1:32 AM
For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.

VOA Blogs

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.9109
JPY
USD
121.50
GBP
USD
0.6467
CAD
USD
1.2293
INR
USD
63.559

Rates may not be current.