For release 10:00 a.m. (EDT) Friday, August 16, 2019 USDL-19-1477
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EMPLOYMENT AND UNEMPLOYMENT AMONG YOUTH -- SUMMER 2019
From April to July 2019, the number of employed youth 16 to 24 years old increased by
2.4 million to 21.2 million, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. In
July 2019, 56.2 percent of young people were employed, up from 55.0 percent in July
2018. (The month of July typically is the summertime peak in youth employment.) The
unemployment rate for youth was 9.1 percent in July, the lowest rate since July 1966,
and little changed from the prior year. (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.)
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 3.0 million, or 14.9 percent, to a total of 23.3 million in July.
(See table 1.)
The labor force participation rate for all youth was 61.8 percent in July, an increase
of 1.2 percentage points 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.) (See table 2.) This year, the July labor force participation
rate was notably higher than the July rates for the prior 9 years. The summer youth
labor force participation rate peaked at 77.5 percent in July 1989.
The July 2019 labor force participation rate for 16- to 24-year-old men, at 63.2 percent,
was up 2.1 percentage points over the year. The rate for young women, at 60.4 percent,
changed little during the same period. Continuing a long-standing pattern, Whites had
the highest youth labor force participation rate in July 2019, at 64.1 percent. The
rate for Blacks was 58.3 percent, for Asians 44.6 percent, and for Hispanics 57.8 percent.
Over the year, the labor force participation rate rose for Whites (+1.3 percentage points),
Blacks (+1.8 points), and Asians (+1.3 points), but was little changed for Hispanics.
In July 2019, there were 21.2 million employed 16- to 24-year-olds. Between April and
July 2019, the number of employed youth rose by 2.4 million, or 12.8 percent. This was
somewhat larger than the increase between April and July 2018, when employment rose by
2.0 million, or 10.7 percent. The employment-population ratio for youth--the proportion
of the 16- to 24-year-old civilian noninstitutional population with a job--was 56.2 percent
in July 2019, an increase of 1.2 percentage points from the prior year. (See tables 1 and
Employment-population ratios in July 2019 were higher than a year earlier for young men
(57.3 percent), Whites (58.9 percent), Blacks (49.8 percent), and Asians (41.0 percent).
The employment-population ratios for young women (55.1 percent) and Hispanics (51.3
percent) were little different from the prior summer.
In July 2019, the largest percentage of employed youth worked in the leisure and
hospitality industry (25 percent), which includes food services. An additional 17 percent
of employed youth worked in the retail trade industry, and 13 percent worked in education
and health services. (See table 3.)
Unemployment among youth rose by 615,000 from April to July 2019, similar to the increase
for the same period in 2018.
The youth unemployment rate, at 9.1 percent in July 2019, was little changed from July
2018. This represents the lowest summer youth unemployment rate since July 1966. The number
of unemployed youth was 2.1 million in July 2019, little different from a year earlier.
Of the 2.1 million unemployed 16- to 24-year-olds, 1.4 million were looking for full-time
work in July 2019, also little changed from July 2018. (See tables 1 and 2.)
The July 2019 unemployment rates for young men (9.4 percent), women (8.8 percent), Whites
(8.0 percent), Asians (8.2 percent), and Hispanics (11.3 percent) were little changed
from the summer before. The rate for young Blacks (14.6 percent) declined over the year.
(See table 2.)