Employment and Unemployment Among Youth Summary

For release 10:00 a.m. (EDT) Thursday, August 16, 2018                       USDL-18-1316

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From April to July 2018, the number of employed youth 16 to 24 years old increased by
2.0 million to 20.9 million, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. This
year, 55.0 percent of young people were employed in July, little changed from a year
earlier. (The month of July typically is the summertime peak in youth employment.)
The unemployment rate for youth was 9.2 percent in July, also little changed from
July 2017. (Because this analysis focuses on the seasonal changes in youth employment
and unemployment that occur each spring and summer, the data are not seasonally

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 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 2.6 million, or 12.7 percent, to a total of 23.0 million in July.
(See table 1.)

The labor force participation rate for all youth was 60.6 percent in July, unchanged
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.) The summer labor force participation rate of youth has held
fairly steady since July 2010, after trending downward for the prior two decades. The
summer youth labor force participation rate peaked at 77.5 percent in July 1989.

The July 2018 labor force participation rate for 16- to 24-year-old men, at 61.1
percent, was down 1.2 percentage points over the year. The rate for young women, at
60.0 percent, rose 1.2 percentage points during the same period, reducing the gap in
labor force participation between young men and women. Whites had the highest youth
labor force participation rate in July 2018, at 62.8 percent. The rate was 56.
5 percent for Blacks, 43.3 percent for Asians, and 58.0 percent for Hispanics. Over
the year, the labor force participation rate rose for Hispanics (+1.4 percentage
points) and declined for Asians (-4.1 points). The decline among Asians offset a
similar increase (+4.3 percentage points) between July 2016 and 2017. Labor force
participation rates in July 2018 for Whites and Blacks were essentially unchanged
from a year earlier.

In July 2018, there were 20.9 million employed 16- to 24-year-olds, about the same
number as the summer before. Between April and July 2018, the number of employed
youth rose by 2.0 million, in line with the change between April and July 2017. The
employment-population ratio for youth--the proportion of the 16- to 24-year-old
civilian noninstitutional population with a job--was 55.0 percent in July 2018,
little changed from the prior year. (See tables 1 and 2.)

Employment-population ratios in July 2018 were higher than a year earlier for young
women (54.8 percent), Whites (58.0 percent), and Hispanics (51.7 percent). The ratios
declined for young men (55.2 percent) and Asians (39.7 percent). The ratio for Blacks,
at 47.2 percent in July, was about unchanged from the summer before.

In July 2018, the largest percentage of employed youth worked in the leisure and
hospitality industry (26 percent), which includes food services. An additional 18
percent of employed youth worked in the retail trade industry, and 11 percent worked
in education and health services. (See table 3.)


Unemployment among youth rose by 567,000 from April to July 2018, compared with an
increase of 458,000 for the same period in 2017.

The youth unemployment rate, at 9.2 percent in July 2018, was little changed from
July 2017. This represents the lowest summer youth unemployment rate since July 1966.
The number of unemployed youth was 2.1 million in July 2018, little different from a
year earlier. Of the 2.1 million unemployed 16- to 24-year-olds, 1.5 million were
looking for full-time work in July 2018, also little changed from July 2017. (See
tables 1 and 2.)

In July 2018, the unemployment rates for both young men (9.8 percent) and women
(8.6 percent) were little changed from the summer before. The July 2018 rate for
young Asians (8.4 percent) declined over the year, while the rates for young Whites
(7.6 percent), Blacks (16.5 percent), and Hispanics (10.8 percent) showed little
change over the year. (See table 2.)

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Last Modified Date: August 16, 2018