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Economic News Release
CPS CPS Program Links

Employment and Unemployment Among Youth Summary

For release 10:00 a.m. (ET) Tuesday, August 18, 2020 		                            USDL-20-1587

Technical information:  *
Media contact:		 (202) 691-5902  *


From April to July 2020, the number of employed youth 16 to 24 years old increased by 4.4 million
to 17.5 million, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. In July 2020, 46.7 percent
of young people were employed, down from 56.2 percent in July 2019. (The month of July typically
is the summertime peak in youth employment.) The unemployment rate for youth was 18.5 percent in
July 2020, down from 26.9 percent in April but still about twice as high as a year earlier. 
(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.)
|												   |
|												   |
|                    Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic Impact on the Labor Market			   |
|												   |
|                        									   |
| The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and efforts to contain it have had a dramatic effect on the  |
| labor market in recent months. Employment fell and unemployment rose sharply in March and April. |
| Despite 3 months of improvements in the labor market, the share of the population age 16 and     |
| over employed in July was much lower than in February. The jobless rate and the number of        |
| unemployed people were considerably higher in July than in February. The changes have been       |
| widespread across all demographic groups, including youth. April represented the peak            |
| unemployment rate and the lowest employment recorded during the pandemic, both overall and       |
| among youth. Employment declines were particularly steep in leisure and hospitality, a sector    |
| that traditionally employs a large share of youth.  						   |
|												   |
| The annual summer employment and unemployment among youth news release compares labor market     |
| estimates from April, when many young people are enrolled in school, to July, when typically     |
| more are working or seeking employment. For 2020, the comparison of April to July youth labor    |
| market data reflects the seasonal trend of increased youth labor force participation over the    |
| period, the employment losses this past spring due to the coronavirus pandemic and efforts to    |
| contain it, and the employment gains from the partial resumption of economic activity through    |
| July.											           |
|												   |
| More information on labor market developments and the impact of the pandemic on labor force      |
| estimates in recent months is available at 							   |
|				   |

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 typically 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 3.6 million,
or 19.8 percent, to a total of 21.5 million in July. The youth labor force, however, was 1.8
million less than in July 2019, reflecting the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. (See 
tables 1 and 2.)

The labor force participation rate for all youth was 57.3 percent in July 2020, a decrease of
4.5 percentage points from a year earlier. (The labor force participation rate is the proportion
of the civilian noninstitutional population that is employed or unemployed. To be classified
as unemployed, a person must either be looking and available for work or on temporary layoff.)
This year, the July labor force participation rate for people age 16 to 24 was the lowest rate
for July in the history of the series, which goes back to 1948.

The July 2020 labor force participation rate for 16- to 24-year-old men, at 58.4 percent, was down
4.8 percentage points over the year. Over the same period the rate for young women declined by 4.2
percentage points to 56.2 percent. Continuing a long-standing pattern, Whites had the highest youth
labor force participation rate in July 2020, at 59.4 percent. The rate for Blacks was 52.5 percent,
for Asians 42.9 percent, and for Hispanics 54.4 percent. Over the year, the labor force
participation rate fell for all race and ethnicity groups.


In July 2020, there were 17.5 million employed 16- to 24-year-olds. Between April and July, the
number of employed youth rose by 4.4 million, or 33.5 percent. This was the largest April to
July employment change among youth in the history of the series, which goes back to 1948. The
change, however, reflected both the seasonal pattern of youth finding employment at the 
conclusion of the school year and the continued resumption of economic activity in July
following the deep coronavirus pandemic-related contraction in employment in April. Despite the
April to July increase in the number of employed youth, there were fewer youth employed in July
than in February 2020, before the pandemic crisis unfolded in many parts of the United States.
The employment-population ratio for youth--the proportion of the 16- to 24-year-old civilian
noninstitutional population with a job--was 46.7 percent in July 2020, a decrease of 9.5
percentage points from the prior year. (See tables 1 and 2.)

Employment-population ratios in July 2020 were lower than they were a year earlier for young men
(47.7 percent), women (45.8 percent), Whites (49.5 percent), Blacks (39.2 percent), Asians
(32.0 percent), and Hispanics (42.6 percent). For these groups, the employment-population
ratios were between 8.7 and 10.6 percentage points lower than in July 2019.

In July 2020, the largest percentage of employed youth worked in the leisure and hospitality 
industry (24 percent), which includes food services. The leisure and hospitality industry was
particularly affected by coronavirus pandemic-related job losses. Youth employment in this 
industry was down by 1.1 million, or 21 percent, compared to July 2019. An additional 20 percent
of employed youth worked in the retail trade industry, and 11 percent worked in educational and
health services. (See table 3.)


Typically, the number of unemployed young people increases between April and July, as people who
were not in the labor force while attending school begin seeking employment. However, this year
unemployment increased sharply in April because of the coronavirus pandemic. The number of 
unemployed youth rose from 1.7 million in February to 4.9 million in May, and declined to 4.0 
million in July. In July 2020, there were 1.9 million more unemployed 16- to 24-year-olds than 
in July 2019. About two-thirds of the unemployed youth in July 2020 were looking for full-time 
work, a similar percentage to a year earlier. (See tables 1 and 2.)

The youth unemployment rate spiked to 26.9 percent in April 2020 and declined to 18.5 percent
in July. This rate is still about twice as high as in July 2019 and is the highest July rate
since 2010. The July 2020 unemployment rates for young men (18.4 percent), women (18.6 percent),
Whites (16.7 percent), Blacks (25.4 percent), Asians (25.4 percent), and Hispanics (21.7 
percent) were all substantially higher than in the prior summer.

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Last Modified Date: August 18, 2020