Unexpectedly Intriguing!
06 June 2011

As of May 2011, over two million jobs (2,004,000) have disappeared from the U.S. economy since teen employment peaked in November 2006. Since the total employment level in the U.S. peaked a year later, some 1,671,000 fewer American teens are now being counted as being employed.

Change in Number of Employed by Age Group Since Total Employment Peak Reached in November 2007

At this point in time, jobs held by teens account for 25% of all jobs lost in the U.S. economy since November 2006. Young adults (those between the ages of 20 and 24) account for 15% of the total decline in jobs from November 2007 to May 2011, while those Age 25 and older account for the remaining 60%.

But wait, it gets worse for teens. In May 2011, the BLS reports that 4,240,000 individuals between the ages of 16 and 19 had jobs. That's the lowest recorded number of teens in the U.S. workforce since July 1963, when 4,210,000 teens were counted as having jobs.

In July 1963, those 4,210,000 teens accounted for 6.2% of the entire U.S. workforce of 67,905,000. By contrast, the 4,240,000 teens working in May 2011 represent 3.03% of the entire U.S. workforce of 139,779,000.

When the U.S. teen employment level last peaked at 6,244,000 in November 2006, teens represented 4.29% of the entire U.S. workforce. One year later, as the total employment level in the U.S. peaked at the top of the pre-recession economic expansion, 5,911,000 teens accounted for 4.03% of the entire U.S. workforce with jobs.

As a percentage of the entire U.S. workforce, May 2011 marks the lowest point for American teens since the BLS began reporting teen employment data in January 1948.

Since November in 2006, the total number of teens in the U.S. has been nearly constant, starting at 16,804,000 and ranging from a high of 17,126,000 in December 2008 to a low of 16,780,000 in December 2010, before reaching 16,792,000 in May 2011. The average number of 16-19 year olds in the noninstitutional civilian population of the U.S. over that time is 16,977,910. As of May 2011, there are just 12,000 fewer teens alive in the U.S. than there were in November 2006.

So it's definitely not a demographic phenomenon. It's an economic one!


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