Unexpectedly Intriguing!
January 10, 2011

The January 2011 jobs report, covering the U.S. employment situation through December 2010, painted pretty much the same picture as every other jobs report has since March 2010: the post-2007 jobs recovery has stalled out, with no sustained improvement observed in the U.S. employment situation during the past nine months.

Change in Number of Employed Since Total Employment Peak in November 2007, as of January 2011

Through December 2010, the total employment level of the United States is 7,378,000 less than what it was at the pre-recession peak in November 2007, which is about the same as what was recorded in June 2010 and October 2010.

Compared to the previous month of November 2010, the number of individuals counted as being employed increased by 297,000. Breaking down that small improvement by age, we find that the numbers of employed teens (Age 16-19) and young adults (Age 20-24) declined by 95,000 and 61,000 respectively, while the number of older workers (Age 25+) rose by a robust 392,000.

Percentage of Number Employed for Age 16-19 and Age 20+ from Levels Recorded in November 2006, as of January 2011

Looking at the percentage change in the size of the U.S. workforce by age, we find that since teen employment levels peaked in November 2006, individuals Age 16 to 19 have seen a reduction of their numbers in the U.S. of 31.2%. With a revised 6,244,000 teens counted as being employed in November 2006, this figure now stands at 4,298,000 through December 2010, a reduction of 1,946,000.

Remarkably, 10% of the decline in the number of employed teens has taken place in the period of time *since* the recession was declared to have ended in June 2009.

Finally, since the recession began in December 2007, teens account for 1,613,000 of the total 7,378,000 jobs that have been lost, or just shy of 22% of all jobs lost through December 2010 in the recession. As of December 2010, teens account for just 3.09% of all members of the U.S. workforce.

That means that teens are seven times more likely to have been negatively affected by the recession than their actual representation within the U.S. workforce would suggest.


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