The youth unemployment rate, for those ages 16 to 24, decreased by 0.3 percent to 12.4 percent in December. This is the lowest youth unemployment rate since April 2008.
Nationally, the economy added 252,000 jobs in December and the unemployment rate fell to 5.6 percent, beating expectations. These continue to be the lowest levels seen during President Obama’s administration and match numbers seen in June 2008.
Although the national unemployment rate has steadily declined in the past five years, young people continue to face disproportionately high levels of unemployment.
UNEMPLOYMENT AMONG YOUNG PEOPLE OF COLOR
Joblessness continues to be higher for Black and Latino young people. Unemployment rates for young African American and Latinos continue to be more than triple and double the national rate respectively.
Young African Americans continue to suffer from the highest rates of unemployment. Their unemployment rate increased to 21.7 percent in December. Young African Americans had the only increase in unemployment compared to other racial and ethnic groups this month.
For young Latinos, the monthly unemployment rate saw a downtick to 11.9 percent – down 0.1 percent from November.
Young Asian Americans had the largest drop in unemployment in December – down to 8.2 percent from 12.1 percent in November.
LABOR FORCE PARTICIPATION
In December, the Labor Force Participation Rate (LFPR) for young Americans (ages 16-24) continued to be near its lowest point since 2000 at 55.1 percent. It is 0.3 percent higher than December of 2013. Since the economy officially recovered from the recession in June 2009, the youth LFPR has stagnated roughly between 54 and 56 percent. The national LFPR has remained relatively unchanged from last month’s report at a 35-year low of 62.7 percent.
As the economy recovers, more people typically enter the labor market because there are more jobs available. A robust recovery means that we should expect the labor-force participation rate to be increasing. However, this has not been the case for young people and the population overall.