Study: 15 percent of US youth out of school, work

Almost 6 million of those aged 16 to 24 are missing out on a window to build skills or use their knowledge acquired in college
Associated Press
Oct 22, 2013

Almost 6 million young people are neither in school nor working, according to a study released Monday.

That's almost 15 percent of those aged 16 to 24 who have neither desk nor job, according to The Opportunity Nation coalition, which wrote the report.

Other studies have shown that idle young adults are missing out on a window to build skills they will need later in life or use the knowledge they acquired in college. Without those experiences, they are less likely to command higher salaries and more likely to be an economic drain on their communities.

"This is not a group that we can write off. They just need a chance," said Mark Edwards, executive director of the coalition of businesses, advocacy groups, policy experts and nonprofit organizations dedicated to increasing economic mobility. "The tendency is to see them as lost souls and see them as unsavable. They are not."

But changing the dynamic is not going to be easy.

The coalition also finds that 49 states have seen an increase in the number of families living in poverty and 45 states have seen household median incomes fall in the last year. The dour report underscores the challenges young adults face now and foretell challenges they are likely to face as they get older.

A young person's community is often closely tied to his or her success. The Opportunity Nation report tracked 16 factors — Internet access, college graduation rates, income inequality and public safety among them — and identified states that were doing well for its young people.

Topping the list of supportive states are Vermont, Minnesota and North Dakota. At the bottom? Nevada, Mississippi and New Mexico.

"Their destiny is too often determined by their ZIP code," said Charlie Mangiardi, who works with Year Up, a nonprofit that trains young adults for careers and helps them find jobs.

"We have the supply. We don't have a lack of young people who need this opportunity," Mangiardi added.

Just look at some of the nation's largest cities. Chicago, Houston, Dallas, Miami, Philadelphia, New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta and Riverside, Calif., all have more than 100,000 idle youth, the Opportunity Nation report found.

"Often times they lack the social capital in life," Mangiardi said. "There's a whole pool of talent that is motivated, loyal and hardworking." They just can't get through an employer's door, he added.

That's why Year Up spends a year working with high school graduates to teach them career skills such as computer programming or equipment repair they can use when the program ends. It also includes life coaching so they can learn skills such as time management. More than 4,500 young adults from urban areas have completed the program and 84 percent of them have found work.

But it's a far tougher time for other young people.

In Mississippi and West Virginia, 1 in 5 young people are idle — higher than their older neighbors. Mississippi has an overall unemployment rate of 8 percent, while West Virginia posts about 7 percent. Like most states, they saw their unemployment rate fall since 2011, but researchers caution that shift could come from fewer residents looking for work and from more who had simply given up their search for jobs.

And it's not as though the challenges emerge from nowhere. Quality early childhood programs help students from poor families overcome societal hurdles, and on-time high school graduation rates often follow quality schools — other factors Opportunity Nation examined in its report.

"A lot of times we don't want to look at data because we don't want to be depressed," said Rob Denson, president of Des Moines Area Community College in Iowa.

But it's an uncomfortable reality that needs to be addressed, he said.

Using previous years' reports from Opportunity Nation, Denson helped rally community organizations in his city to develop a pilot program to help students as young as 14 find summer work.

"When we got the index, it really allowed us to use it as a rallying point for all of the community-based organizations we work with to say, 'Look, this is what the world sees when they look at Iowa,'" he said.

Starting next summer, Des Moines students will be placed in paying jobs, part of a citywide collaboration to help its urban communities. It will help older adults, as well, because crime rates are expected to fall, he said.

"If they're not in school or at work," Denson said, "they're not usually doing something positive."




What's cut and dry is that it's each individual's responsibility to use the resources available to educate themselves and find work.

That's real.


Re: "use the resources available to educate themselves and find work."

To paraphrase Tommy Lasorda:

There are those who make it happen, those who watch it happen and those who wonder what happens.

The spoiled little liberals whine and cry and have no idea how hard life used to be in this country.

But, with rising federal and consumer debt, one day they will without a doubt look back after the next inevitable financial collapse and realize just how good they ACTUALLY had it.


What if said individual does not have those "resources" available to them? Everyone does not have the same opportunities or resources. That's really real, cut and dry too. You complain when people get student loans to help themselves and in the same breath you rant about one educating one's self. You can't have it both ways!


Re: "That's almost 15 percent of those aged 16 to 24 who have neither desk nor job,"

The headline is rather misleading.

IMO, the REAL potential socio-economic issue for the future is the seriousness of high black youth unemployment.

"Black Youth Unemployment Rate Jumps To 40.5 Percent In April 2013"

Little wonder that many black voters and supporters feel that this Pres. has failed them.



What kids are not able to use the resources of public education?

When did I complain about kids getting school loans? I used student loans and my kids used student loan to further our education. Now, not paying them back will get my dander up.

There is a difference between entitlement and a loan.


Get real! Everyone knows there is usually a limit on how far a public education by itself can take you. There are exceptions. I'm pretty sure you stated in other posts that you achieved success all by yourself with no help. Oops! A student loan is gov't help just like food stamps. I have no issue with either as long as they are used properly. Don't get on here and act all high and mighty when you and your family both have taken advantage of gov't help. BTW, I too used a student loan and it is paid in full.


double post


There should be no complaining about summer job around Sandusky. Cedar Point hired hundreds of students from overseas to fill vacancies that were available to area youth and adults.

These jobs taught responsibility, ethics, morals along with developing a self worth. Great values for young men and women.

Why does Cedar Point have to hire from overseas?


I refused to allow my kids to work at CP. They really take advantage of the help. Kids don't want to work there but most do want to work!

The Big Dog's back

CP is not the same CP of 30 to 40 years ago.



How do they take advantage of kids?

It's the same old whine from you. Kids and adults only need to work perfect jobs. I had many jobs I didn't like but they were jobs and received compensation for my work.

That work experience allowed me to obtain other better paying jobs.

Are you and your kids holding out for a nuclear physicist position? Until then you will enjoy your government supplied entitlement. Kinda figured.

PS, my student loan was through a bank. Sorry to burst your bubble.


They try to cheat kids out of their year end earned bonuses! All student loans are from banks!


Re: "All student loans are from banks!"


Pres. Obama oversaw the govt. takeover the student loan industry.

"Finalizing two major pieces of his agenda, President Barack Obama on Tuesday sealed his health care overhaul and made the government the primary lender to students by cutting banks out of the process."

The over $1T in student loan debt now belongs to taxpayers.



Deer understand he is old & bitter. We know there were an abundance of decent jobs in the 60's. History proves it.


Sorry, not old and bitter. We just come from different family philosophy. I had to work for everything. That's how I was taught by my parents. I passed the same philosophy on to my children. I help people who want to help themselves. I don't respect or help people who feel entitled to a similar lifestyle without putting forth some effort.

There are an abundance of jobs available now. But, only to those who get educated and put forth the effort. Those with no high school degree or only a high school degree are left in the dust of a bygone era. The technology revolution is upon us. Those waiting for those unskilled labor jobs to come back will continue to wait and complain.


Donut another person was being mentioned not you. However since you commented ponder this. Using your premise of "tech" jobs for the future what does that leave to those that cannot achieve high scores? Are stating that their life will be in shambles? See my parents knew a guy that was hard working & honest. We just was slow. Yet through his diligence he made a decent living back then. Today he'd qualify for a low pay dead end job. Again - it is your age group that had the better way. Be glad you aren't entering the job arena today. You missed the point.


Yes as someone else who you claim gre up in good times. I "came of age" in the 70's when Carter was President, had a super majority of Dims in the Senate, a majority in the House, double digit, inflation, double digit unemployment, double digit interest rates. He11 mortgage rates were topping 18%. That was so much better than what we see today. (Last line sarcasm)

The difference was Carter was voted out and Reagan was voted in. He convinced the Congress to cut everyones taxes, and after a little over a year unemployment was below that of today, interest rates dropped, inflation dropped, and we were well on the way to recovery with jobs and better times.

The difference is the policies passed by the President and Congress passed to deal with the economic downfall. Reagan fixed his, Obama has extended his.

Economic slow downs have happened for many people... the current one is not the only one that ever happened. In the 70's we voted out the problem... we re-elected those who extended it this time.



The world continues to evolve. This country continues to evolve. This area continues to evolve.

You either change or fall behind. You want to live in the "good old days". How about we return to horses as a mean of transportation. Those were better days before the industrial revolution.

Today we are in a technology revolution. I have to stay updated to keep in the job arena that you mention.

If kids don't pursue additional education beyond high school most will work dead end jobs for their remaining life.

It's their choice. It's their responsibility. It's their life. Take ownership and stop waiting for someone else to solve your problems.

It's a tough concept. Right?


Both of you got your stuff wrong. Here is why. Check on public assistance. The lion's share goes to fast food workers, Wal-mart is not too far behind. Translation. Most people working their because of low job options. America has fallen behind in living standards. Talk to your children or their friends. Compare how much you made at their age. Look what your $$ would purchase also. (Also your purchases were better quality by & large) As a metrology individual once said to an engineer, "Figures don't lie - but liars figure."




"America has fallen behind in living standards"

Fallen behind who? Name the country.

What other country pays for you food, housing, utilities, clothing, transportation and cell phone ?

More continual whining from those who won't put for the effort to educate themselves and work to make their life better.


"America has fallen behind in living standards"

Fallen behind who? Name the country.

What other country pays for you food, housing, utilities, clothing, transportation and cell phone ?

More continual whining from those who won't put for the effort to educate themselves and work to make their life better.


Loss of purchasing power a problem for some?

Look no further than the Fed Resve's cheap money and easy credit policies that are destroying savings and have been gradually destroying the value of the USD.

Also the Govt. WANTS a "cheap dollar" in order to help fuel the export market.

Only those in the Mkt. and investing in riskier assets like stocks are tending to keep up.

The Rule of 72: Divide the number 72 by an interest rate.

At the Fed's 2% inflation target, one's savings at 0% rate of interest are worthless in 36 yrs.

And if you don't keep up with inflation, one's take home pay eventually becomes TOAST because you're losing buying power at a rate of 2% each and every yr.

The Political Ruling Class is scr*wing the working class, yet the whining morons continue to vote for 'em because they promise them "cash and prizes."


Sorry for the double post. Still trying to understand this new technology.



This time around we didn't/don't have double digit inflation, in fact almost no inflation... if you believe how the gov't now counts inflation, Inerest rates are minimal compared to what it was, and mortgages are still under 5% and was under 4% for years. What you have shown is the economic downturns are different from each other... gee I guess that 40 years difference might show some differences. This down turn is different from the last one which was different from the one before, which was different from the one before.... Keep tryin to claim yours is worse... I guess we can conclude that the leadership shown is worse also and the foolishness of those who re-elected a leader who proved he can't fix it after 4 years to someone who fixed it after a year or so... and rewarded him with what can actually called a landslide re-election, 49 states and 525 to 13 electoral votes.



You can't compare times 40 years apart and expect much hasn't changed after 4 decades. You have to live in the present and not try you dmandest to drag in the past and expect to compare it to the present. Life doesn't work that way. Try to live in the present and prepare for the future, not whine about how someone else might have had an easier time in their life. I could claim that those born between 45 and 55, or born between 65 and 75, had it easier, but they didn't... except they did... or maybe not... it would depend on the individual... much like it always does.


ROFLMFAO... again!


Re: "You can't compare times 40 years apart and expect much hasn't changed after 4 decades."

What took a $1.00 to buy in 1973 now takes $5.27.

Or, another way to look at it is: Your 1973 $1.00 now has the purchasing power of 19¢.

If this "troubles" anyone blame the Fed Resv. and the U.S. Govt.

They've created a fiction that inflated wealth is REAL wealth - it ain't.

ANYONE who doesn’t see what the h*ll is goin’ on is either ignorant or dumber than dirt.


"What took a $1.00 to buy in 1973 now takes $5.27.

Or, another way to look at it is: Your 1973 $1.00 now has the purchasing power of 19¢."

This is why I don't ask my kids or their friends about how this economy is compared to what it was then. They weren't born yet so can't speak to what it was then. Besides my kids would do what Contango just did... get some numbers that are able to be compared. How can someone, who didn't live through it have a first hand account of what it was like back then? They can't and must use numbers to show what it was like compared to now. What Contange showed (the buying power of a dollar then compared to now), what I showed unemployment (even though it was counted different now compared to then, you can look that up on your own). Interest rates, including mortgages (up to 18%+), credit card rates (which some went to 25% and even over that under Carter).

None of which were this high under Bush, but were well on their way and Obama has made a jobless recovery, just look at the number of people EMPLOYED, not unemployed. Their are more part time workers, underemployed, people on SS disability and folks who have given up and are on Welfare, foodstamps which is higher now than for decades. Is it a question of leadership? Obama had a supermajority in the Senate for his first two years, then a solid majority after, a majority in the house for his first two years and could pass whatever he wanted with no need for any repube voting for his policies... that is how we got Obamacare and the so-called stimulus... and little else. The economy didn't improve and he lost the super majority in the Senate and lost the House. If it isn't a lack of leadership, what else is it? Because he can't get his point across to 1/2 of the Congress? Clinton and Reagan both did, those were leaders who knew how to deal with people, Obama? Not so much, in fact not at all. As told the repubes in Congress in 2009, there are consequences to losing elections. He found out the reason not to rub peoples faces in it after the 2010 election, as did Clinton in 94, Clinton learned how to deal with it after a short time... Obama?... not so much. Reagan and Clinton got things done... Obama?... not so much.

History, results and facts.


Regarding the "wealth effect":

Remember when the "fiction" was that housing prices would NEVER go down?

The housing crisis was exhibit "A" in regards to the devastative effects of deflation.

This is why the Fed. Resv. continues to practice QE and ZIRP and hold a 2% inflation target - to fight against the ever present danger of deflation, i.e. the 1930s.

IMO, eventually they will lose the battle.

Interest rates WILL rise. The occurrence of which is largely guesswork.


BTW: The govt. "technically" defaulted on it's debt in 1933, when FDR confiscated gold and exchanged it for Fed. Resv. notes.

He did not want gold competing for value with the USD.

In today's dollars, the melt down value of a pre-1964 silver dime is about $2.50.

The value of a 2013 copper sandwich dime is 10¢.

Dr. Information

kurt still thinks that a high school education will land you a good paying job with ease. Attention alert, times have vastly changed. You have to have a degree in something that is needed in this nation. To many college kids taking cup cake classes and graduating with some cup cake degree and when they graduate, they can't find a job. If college isn't your cup of tea, then one better invest in a demanding tech job.

If you are graduating HS and plan on making McDonalds your life time goal, then you have nobody to blame but yourself.


"kurt still thinks that a high school education will land you a good paying job with ease."

Well....... if you're good enough at hitting a ball with a stick, or throwing a bigger ball through a hoop, or you can play a guitar and look good. Then there's always the strip clubs and the adult film industry.