Youth Labor Force In U.S. Up In July 2012, More Kids Had Summer Jobs

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America’s labor force was more youthful than usual this summer.

More kids had summer jobs in the United States during July 2012, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 21 August 2012.

During the summer students flood into the labor force. (Census Bureau photo)

During the summer students flood into the labor force. (Census Bureau photo)

Youth employment in the United States rose by 2.1 million to 19.5 million.

The youth labor force -16- to 24-year-olds working or actively looking for work – spikes upward annually between April and July.

During these months, large numbers of high school and college students search for or take summer jobs. Many recent graduates enter the labor market, looking for or beginning permanent employment.

During summer 2012, the youth labor force grew by 2.9 million, or 14.2%, to a total of 23.5 million in July.

More Youth In Labor Force

The labor force participation rate for all youth – the proportion of the population 16 to 24 years old working or looking for work – was 60.5% in July, up from July 2011.

During the summer 2012, 26% of employed youth worked in the leisure and hospitality, which includes food services. That’s about the same proportion as in July 2011.

Another 19% of employed youth worked in the retail in July 2012, down slightly from July 2011.

The number of unemployed youth in July 2012 was 4 million compared with 4.1 million a year ago.

Youth unemployment was 17.1% in July 2012. The unemployment rate for young men was 17.9%, in July 2012, and the rate for women was 16.2%.

Taking a longer-term view, the July 2012 participation rate was 17 percentage points below the peak rate for that month in 1989 (77.5%).

The July 2012 labor force participation rate for 16- to 24-year-old men was 63.2%. The rate for young women was 57.8%.

From 1948, when the Bureau of Labor Statistics began collecting data on the subject, to 1989, the July labor force participation rate for young men showed no clear trend, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. It ranged from 81% to 86%.

Since 1989, however, the July participation rate of young men has trended down, dropping about 20 percentage points.

The July labor force participation rate for young women peaked in 1989 at 72.4%, following a long upward trend.

The participation rate of young women has fallen by about 15 percentage points since 1989.

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