Employment and Unemployment Among Youth Summary

For release 10:00 a.m. (EDT) Tuesday, August 18, 2015                  USDL-15-1590

Technical information:  (202) 691-6378    cpsinfo@bls.gov    www.bls.gov/cps
Media contact:          (202) 691-5902    PressOffice@bls.gov


From April to July 2015, the number of employed youth 16 to 24 years old increased 
by 2.1 million to 20.3 million, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. 
This year, 52.7 percent of young people were employed in July, little changed from 
a year earlier. (The month of July typically is the summertime peak in youth 
employment.) Unemployment among youth rose by 654,000 from April to July 2015, 
compared with an increase of 913,000 for the same period in 2014. (Because this 
analysis focuses on the seasonal changes in youth employment and unemployment that 
occur each spring and summer, the data are not seasonally adjusted.)

Labor force

The youth labor force--16- to 24-year-olds working or actively looking for work--grows 
sharply between April and July each year. During these months, large numbers of 
high school and college students search for or take summer jobs, and many graduates 
enter the labor market to look for or begin permanent employment. This summer, the 
youth labor force grew by 2.7 million, or 13.5 percent, to a total of 23.2 million in 
July. (See table 1.)

The labor force participation rate for all youth was 60.0 percent in July, little 
changed from a year earlier. (The labor force participation rate is the proportion of 
the civilian noninstitutional population that is working or looking and available for
work.) The summer labor force participation rate of youth has held fairly steady since
July 2010, after generally trending downward for many years. The summer youth labor
force participation rate peaked at 77.5 percent in July 1989. (See table 2.)

The July 2015 labor force participation rate for 16- to 24-year-old men was 61.8 
percent, higher than the rate for young women at 58.2 percent. The rate for men 
declined from last July, while the rate for women was little changed. 

The youth labor force participation rate was highest for whites, at 62.3 percent in 
July 2015. The rate was 56.4 percent for blacks, 44.6 percent for Asians, and 56.2 
percent for Hispanics. The rate for blacks rose by 3.5 percentage points from the 
previous July, while the rates for whites, Asians, and Hispanics showed little or 
no change.   


In July 2015, there were 20.3 million employed 16- to 24-year-olds, not much different 
from the summer before. Between April and July 2015, the number of employed youth 
rose by 2.1 million, in line with the increase for the prior 3 summers. The employment-
population ratio for youth in July 2015--the proportion of the 16- to 24-year-old 
civilian noninstitutional population with a job--was 52.7 percent, little changed from 
the year before. (See tables 1 and 2.)

The employment-population ratios for young women (51.4 percent), blacks (44.7 percent), 
and Hispanics (49.1 percent) were higher in July 2015 than a year earlier. The ratios 
for young men (53.9 percent), whites (55.8 percent), and Asians (39.8 percent) showed 
little change from last July.

In July 2015, 27 percent of employed youth worked in the leisure and hospitality 
industry (which includes food services), 20 percent worked in the retail trade industry, 
and another 11 percent worked in education and health services. (See table 3.)


The number of unemployed youth was 2.8 million in July 2015, down from 3.4 million a 
year earlier. The youth unemployment rate was 12.2 percent in July 2015, 2.1 percentage 
points less than a year before. Among the major demographic groups, July unemployment 
rates were lower than the prior year for young men (12.7 percent), women (11.7 percent), 
whites (10.3 percent), blacks (20.7 percent), and Hispanics (12.7 percent). The youth 
jobless rate changed little for Asians (10.7 percent). (See table 2.)

The PDF version of the news release

Table of Contents

Last Modified Date: August 18, 2015