August 14, 2002
The labor force participation rate for youth—the proportion of the population age 16 to 24 working or looking for work—was 69.5 percent in July, down from 70.8 percent a year earlier. This was the lowest July labor force participation rate for youth since 1971.
The decline in labor force participation among youths may be due, in part, to the softness in the labor market this year. It also may reflect an increase in school enrollment—26 percent of 16- to 24-year-olds were enrolled in school in July 2002, an increase of about 10 percentage points since July 1994. About half of the youth in school in July were in the labor force, compared with three-fourths of those not in school.
The labor force participation rate for young men in July has been trending down since 1990, and at 72.2 percent, was at its lowest point on record for July. The participation rate among young women (66.7 percent) changed little from July 2001. The July 2002 rates for young whites (72.5 percent) and young blacks (57.3 percent) decreased from their July 2001 values.
These data are a product of the Current Population Survey. The data are not seasonally adjusted. Find out more in "Employment and Unemployment Among Youth -- Summer 2002," news release USDL 02-478.