The unemployment rates for both youth aged 16-24 and all workers 16 and older remained largely unchanged in July, while the economy added 255,000 jobs—slightly less than the 287,000 jobs added in June, but still indicating positive job growth. The youth unemployment rate increased slightly in July to 10.8 percent, 0.2 percentage points higher than the 2016 year-to-date average of 10.6 percent. Meanwhile, the national unemployment rate remained unchanged from June at 4.9 percent, matching the 2016 year-to-date average of 4.9 percent.
Youth continue to face very different employment outlooks depending on their race. While the unemployment rates for black, Latino, and white youth fell, black and Latino young people continue experiencing higher unemployment rates and a dearth of economic opportunities.
The black youth unemployment rate in July fell to 20.6 percent, down from 22.4 percent in June, but is still nearly double the overall youth average of 10.8 percent. Meanwhile, Latino youth also face higher-than-average unemployment rates, clocking in at 11.3 percent in July. The white youth unemployment rate in July, on the other hand, was 9.9 percent, 0.9 percentage points below the youth average. The Asian youth unemployment rate, while still below the overall youth average, jumped 1.4 percentage points, reaching 10 percent in July. The relatively large jump may be attributable to the small sample size of the Asian youth population, which spurs volatility.
The youth labor force participation rate, which tracks the percentage of the population aged 16 to 24 that is either working or actively seeking work out of the entire population, fell from 55 percent in June to 54.9 percent in July. These rates remain virtually unchanged from last summer, when the youth labor force participation rate similarly hovered around 55 percent. Meanwhile, the national labor force participation rate (for all workers 16 and older) in July was 62.8 percent, and has remained stagnant for the past two years. Though the unemployment rate has generally returned to pre-recession levels, the labor force participation rate has yet to recover, and remains especially low for youth.