After graduation, the next step for one million American kids is nothing | Deseret News National
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Education

After graduation, the next step for one million American kids is nothing

More than one million Americans who have graduated from high school and are between 17 and 20 years old are not working, attending school or looking for work, according to a new analysis by the Economic Policy Institute.

"In today’s labor market," the EPI report states, "there are nearly 1 million 'missing' young workers — potential workers who are neither employed nor actively seeking work (and are thus not counted in the unemployment rate) because job opportunities remain so scarce. If these missing workers were in the labor market looking for work, the unemployment rate of workers under age 25 would be 18.1 percent instead of 14.5 percent."

“There are two key ways young graduates can further advance their careers and their futures: getting a job or further schooling,” said Heidi Shierholz, the lead author of the report, as reported in the Wall Street Journal. ”You like to think people are traveling around the world or doing something enriching. I doubt that’s it. It’s people who are thrown into this position because of the weak economy in the aftermath of the Great Recession.”

The report coincided with last Friday's monthly jobs report, which had good news and bad news for those looking for work, including a strong 288,000 new jobs created.

"What’s more," notes the Wall Street Journal Cheat Sheet, "these numbers could actually be worse, based on a finding that unemployment rates may be recorded as lower than they should be. It finds that there are almost 1 million young workers who do not get counted as unemployed because they have stopped seeking work despite being unemployed after finding that there were no job opportunities."

But as Scott Martelle pointed out in the Los Angeles Times, the report also showed that 800,000 workers left the workforce.

"According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the workforce participation rate dipped to below 63 percent last month," Martelle noted, "more than three points below its pre-recession level. That means a massive number of people have dropped out of the workforce. At the same time, new claims for unemployment rose last month, which means that while the number of people getting hired increased, so too did the number of workers losing jobs."

Email: eschulzke@desnews.com