Summer Jobs ‘Crisis’ for Youth

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Adults aren’t the only ones feeling the pinch of a U.S. economy hitting the skids. More than 65 percent of American youth will be jobless this summer, the worst rate since the end of World War II, according to a report released last month by the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University, in Boston.

The report says black and Latino youth will be hit particularly hard in 10 major cities.

Youths and adults from the Chicago-based Alternative Schools Network and the D.C. Alliance of Youth Advocates joined members of Congress at joint rallies in Chicago and Washington to draw attention to the “crisis.” Lawmakers called on their colleagues to pass a $2 billion federal back-to-work package, which they said would employ 2 million youth.

The report by Andrew Sum, based on data from the U.S. Census and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, says there was a net decline in youth employment even during the nation’s job growth boom from 2003 to 2007.

“The situation here is both straightforward and disturbing,” Sum said in a prepared statement, with youth being unemployed at nearly four to five times the rate of those age 25 and older.

He said youth employment is a good predictor of future success. After-school and summer jobs keep kids out of trouble, portend higher wages later in life, and correlate with lower dropout and teen pregnancy rates, he said.

Rally participants said the federal government should restore the federal youth employment program that was eliminated under the Clinton administration and left out of the economic stimulus package recently passed by Congress.

“The Continued Collapse of the Nation’s Teen Job Market and the Dismal Outlook for the 2008 Summer Labor Market for Teens: Does Anybody Care?” is available at