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|Recession Poses Challenges for Young People Seeking Jobs
|A study conducted by researchers on the east coast reveals teenagers and young adults in Illinois have been finding it very difficult to find work since the economic boom of 1999 and 2000.
The Center of Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University in Massachusetts compiled the report, which looks at 1999 to 2009. It was released late last month by the Chicago Urban League and shows the 16 to 24 age group has seen their employment rates fall 19 percent nationally, and by nearly 20 percent in Illinois.
Senior research assistant Joe McLaughlin says the economic recession and competition from other age groups are the main reasons teens and young adults are running into problems finding jobs. McLaughlin says other groups are also suffering.
"Their earnings are lower, they're paying less in taxes," McLaughlin said. "As a state, as a society, we're all losing out because, here's this huge, underutilized group of workers that could be paying taxes."
Minority teenagers are at even more of a disadvantage. McLaughlin says the racial disparity between black teen and white teen employment rates is about 35 percentage points.
"We found at the state level that black teens from low-income families, their employment rate is only about 13%," McLaughlin said. "At the higher end of the range, white teens from upper middle-class families were working at a close to 48% rate."
McLaughlin says the federal government renewing its summer jobs program and expansion of school-to-career programs in state and local school districts are ways to help the situation.
McLaughlin says the one group that boosted its employment rates both nationally and in Illinois over the past decade was the 55 and over age group. He says a lot of those workers are taking jobs that traditionally could go to teens, particularly positions in the retail sector.
|02 13 10 by Newsroom
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