Invove America


The Young and the Jobless

It’s no secret that the U.S. job market is still struggling, despite the official end of the Great Recession more than two years ago. A quick glance at the July 2011 Employment Situation Summary compiled by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that the overall unemployment rate dropped slightly to 9.1 percent, with no significant change since April 2011. A closer look reveals that, among 18- to 24-year-olds in the labor force, the unemployment rate is still 16.6 percent. There are also 1.1 million discouraged workers, people who aren’t even looking for work right now because they believe no jobs are available for them.

The employment situation raises concerns about both the economy at large and our own earning potentials. For young people, job prospects remain historically grim and many of us are still waiting and hoping to land our first jobs. As entry-level workers, we often need to compete with more experienced workers for the same jobs. Getting a foot in the door may mean taking on unpaid internships to gain experience or pursuing opportunities outside our original fields of interest.

In addition to causing frustration and financial tolls, prolonged periods of unemployment have been shown to impact relationships, emotional well-being, self-respect, and long-term career goals. A growing body of research shows that college graduates who enter the workforce during a recession earn significantly less during their lifetime than those who join the fold during an economic boom. And, they may also struggle with moving upward in their careers, even if the economy has recovered.

In The News

The Employment Situation - July 2011
A news release from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics summarizing the employment situation in the U.S. for the month of July. more >>
Unemployment Rates for States - July 2011
A state-by-state comparison of unemployment rates for the month of July, from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics. more >>

Useful Links

In Two Years of Economic Recovery, Women Lost Jobs, Men Found Them
For the first time since 1970, women have lost jobs while men have gained them during a period of economic recovery. A Social & Demographic Trends Report from the Pew Research Center on the new gender gap in employment. more >>
The Impact of Long-term Unemployment: Lost Income, Lost Friends - and Loss of Self-respect A Social & Demographic Trends Report from the Pew Research Center on how long-term unemployment takes a much deeper toll on a person’s finances, emotional well-being and career prospects than short-term unemployment. more >>
Job Fairs: Useful or Useless?
Wondering if it’s worth it to attend a job or career fair? This video from takes a look at four ways to get the most out of job fairs (even the ones where employers aren’t accepting resumes). more >>