Academic journal article Monthly Labor Review

Trends in Youth Employment Rates

Academic journal article Monthly Labor Review

Trends in Youth Employment Rates

Article excerpt

Many are the stories of the millionaires and captains of industry who got their start in the world of work as youths. It is in their teenage years that most people get their first "real" jobs. While these jobs may require minimal skills and be low-paying, they teach valuable lessons that last a lifetime.

"What Is Happening to Youth Employment Rates?" (Congressional Budget Office, November 2004) examines various facets of youth employment between 1979 and 2003. Over this period, trends in young people's employment rates varied depending on their age and sex. For example, for youths ages 20 to 24, the employment rate dropped for males while it rose slightly for females. For youths ages 16 to 19, employment rates trended down for males and females, and were always below the rates for their older counterparts.

What caused these changes in youth employment rates? One factor was increasing school enrollment. Young people who were in school were much less likely to have jobs than those who are not. Over the past 25 years, school enrollment rates for young people, measured in October of each year, have slowly and steadily increased. More striking than the increase in the October school enrollment rate was an even greater increase in the July school enrollment rate. The "summer school" enrollment rate more than tripled from 1985 to 2003. …

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