About half of young people had jobs this summer

08/13/2014 10:45 AM

08/13/2014 6:47 PM

About 20.1 million young people held jobs in July, a tiny increase over the nearly 19.7 million reported in July 2013, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Wednesday.

The bureau’s annual summer report on youth employment and unemployment said 51.9 percent of that age group of 16- to 24-year-olds were working in July compared with 50.7 percent a year ago.

On the jobless side, nearly 3.4 million in that age group were unsuccessfully looking for work this July compared to 3.8 million a year earlier. That pushed the youth unemployment rate down 2 percentage points from a year ago to 14.3 percent.

The labor bureau’s annual statistical snapshot of summertime employment of young people is one barometer of the economy, and this year’s report indicated small improvement over recent years.

But the report also noted that the labor force participation rate for young people — the proportion of that population that was working or looking for work — was 60.5 percent in July, the same as the two prior summers. The participation rate had been declining for many years; the peak rate was 77.5 percent in July 1989.

The bureau said July’s employment-to-population ratio for young men was 53.6 percent and 50.1 percent for young women, both slightly higher than a year ago. The rate was highest for whites, at 55.4 percent. The rate was 39.8 percent for blacks, 40.8 percent for Asians and 47 percent for Hispanics, the bureau said.

In July this year, one-fourth of the young-worker age group worked in the leisure and hospitality industry, which includes food service, and 19 percent worked in retail trade.

To reach Diane Stafford, call 816-234-4359 or send email to stafford@kcstar.com.

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