Slightly more than half of U.S. young people in the 16-24 age group were working in July, the traditional annual peak month for youth unemployment.
The nearly 19.7 million youths who drew paychecks last month represented a small increase from the nearly 19.5 million in that age group who held jobs in July 2012.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released data Tuesday that confirmed predictions that summer 2013 would be a better hiring time for young people than recent years.
About 18.6 million in that age group had worked in July 2011 and in July 2010.
The new report also indicated a rise in the share of young people who held jobs in July — 50.7 percent of the 16-24 population — up from a low of 48.8 percent in 2011 but not yet back to previous highs.
The Labor Department said July’s employment numbers this year accounted for an increase of 2.1 million young workers from the number working in April.
Unemployment for that age group — the share actively looking for work — was 16.3 percent, or about 3.8 million unsuccessful job hunters.
The youth labor force this summer grew by 2.8 million from April to 23.5 million in July.