Magazine article Nation's Cities Weekly

Studies Highlight Job Deficits among Teens, Black Men

Magazine article Nation's Cities Weekly

Studies Highlight Job Deficits among Teens, Black Men

Article excerpt

Two recent studies by Northeastern University's Center for Labor Market Studies offer a grim picture of employment trends among teenagers of all racial and ethnic groups and among African American men.

Teen Summer Jobs

According to a new release by the center, the employment rate for teens in June 2004--40.2 percent--was the lowest since the federal government began collecting such data in 1948.

"Teens were most adversely affected by the recession of 2001 and the jobless recovery of 2002," said Andrew Sum, director of the center and lead author of the study. "They have been unable to benefit from the national jobs recovery that has been taking place since the fall of 2003. The remainder of the summer of 2004 looks quite bleak for teens."

Black Male Joblessness

While recent job losses since 2000 have been most severe for teens and young adults, a second Northeastern study highlights a severe employment crisis for African American men of all ages.

The center's new report, "Trends in Black Male Joblessness," documents that a stunning one in four black men between the ages of 20 and 64 in the United States did not work at any time during 2002. This rate of year-long idleness among black men was twice as high as that among white and Hispanic men.

Employment problems among black men are particularly acute in the nation's cities and among those without any postsecondary education.

Recommendations

In both studies, Sum and his Northeastern University colleagues contend that the economic plight of young workers and of black men has received very little attention from the media or policy makers in recent years.

The lack of a significant public policy response at federal or state levels has forced municipal leaders to look for ways to take action within their own communities. However, Sum argues that a diverse array of economic strategies, involving all levels of government, is necessary for sustained improvement in the employment prospects of these groups. …

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