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Youth labor force participation rate at 61.8 percent in July 2019, a 9-year high

August 23, 2019

The youth labor force grows sharply between April and July each year. During these months, many high school and college students search for or take summer jobs. Many graduates also enter the labor market for permanent employment. In July 2019, 61.8 percent of 16- to 24-year-olds participated in the labor force. That is, they were working or looking for work. The July 2019 labor force participation rate for youth was notably higher than the July rates for the prior 9 years. However, the rate remained considerably below the July 1989 peak of 77.5 percent.

Labor force participation rate and unemployment rate of 16- to 24-year-olds in July, 1948–2019, not seasonally adjusted

Year

Labor force participation rate

Unemployment rate

1948

66.2 8.4

1949

66.2 13.1

1950

64.9 9.6

1951

65.8 6.6

1952

63.7 7.0

1953

62.2 5.7

1954

61.7 11.3

1955

62.8 8.9

1956

66.0 9.4

1957

66.0 9.1

1958

64.0 15.1

1959

63.1 11.1

1960

64.7 11.2

1961

64.1 13.8

1962

64.3 11.3

1963

63.6 13.1

1964

63.2 11.0

1965

65.3 10.2

1966

66.7 8.8

1967

67.7 9.7

1968

67.8 9.8

1969

68.6 9.4

1970

68.7 11.7

1971

68.9 13.3

1972

70.2 12.5

1973

71.9 11.1

1974

73.2 12.4

1975

73.0 16.3

1976

74.1 14.1

1977

74.7 13.3

1978

76.5 12.6

1979

76.6 11.7

1980

76.3 14.7

1981

75.3 14.0

1982

74.7 17.3

1983

75.6 16.2

1984

76.3 13.4

1985

76.5 13.7

1986

76.7 13.0

1987

76.3 11.7

1988

76.9 10.9

1989

77.5 10.7

1990

75.1 10.9

1991

73.6 13.7

1992

74.6 14.5

1993

74.5 13.3

1994

74.1 12.7

1995

74.3 12.7

1996

73.3 12.6

1997

73.0 11.4

1998

72.8 10.8

1999

72.6 10.1

2000

71.6 9.6

2001

70.7 10.5

2002

69.5 12.4

2003

67.3 13.3

2004

67.2 12.3

2005

66.6 11.0

2006

66.7 11.2

2007

65.0 10.8

2008

65.1 14.0

2009

63.0 18.5

2010

60.5 19.1

2011

59.5 18.1

2012

60.5 17.1

2013

60.5 16.3

2014

60.5 14.3

2015

60.0 12.2

2016

60.1 11.5

2017

60.6 9.6

2018

60.6 9.2

2019

61.8 9.1

The unemployment rate for youth was 9.1 percent in July 2019. While little changed from the prior year, this is the lowest summer youth unemployment rate since July 1966.

These data are from the Current Population Survey and are not seasonally adjusted. To learn more, see “Employment and Unemployment among Youth — Summer 2019.”

SUGGESTED CITATION

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Youth labor force participation rate at 61.8 percent in July 2019, a 9-year high on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2019/youth-labor-force-participation-rate-at-61-point-8-percent-in-july-2019-a-9-year-high.htm (visited October 28, 2020).

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