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."



Just a part of the Obama Recovery "McJobs" program:

The rise in part-time employment:

The Bizness

Looking at that link it appears that there has been a pretty steady trend line since the late 60's. I am not sure you can argue any president has anything to do with this.

Although in the 90's it seems to be slightly, and I mean slightly decreasing.


Re: "a pretty steady trend line since the late 60's."

Graphs are a tool and NEVER tell the whole story, ya gotta dig deeper:

Also, labor force participation rates are at 30 yr. lows.

Sept. 1980: 63.3%

Sept. 2013: 63.2%

Pres. not responsible? The Pres. sents the tone.

This is the worst post-WW2 economic recovery.

His anti-business policies MOST certainly aren't helping.


Start working at home with Google! Its by-far the best job Ive had. Last Wednesday I got a brand new BMW since getting a check for $6474. I began this 8-months ago and immediately was bringing home at least $77 per hour. Useful Reference


If anything, Contango, it's the legacy of the Bush Recession (when millions of jobs were lost), and the direct result of several subsequent years of idiotic Republican economic policies which slowed (and continue to slow) the recovery, and Republicans refusal to support Obama's jobs initiatives.

Yeah, I know, Contango. You don't believe any of those things happened. In your alternate universe, we didn't have 11% unemployment in late 2008 and weren't losing hundreds of thousands of jobs each MONTH during the tail end of Bush's 2nd term.


Re: "support Obama's jobs initiatives."

Who can forget the Comedian-in-Chief's hilarious joke in regards to the Stimulus?

"Sh..shovel-ready not as eh...shovel-ready as we expected "

So he should be given another trillion or more and maybe get it right this time?

Where’s the capital gonna come from; China, the Fed. Resv.?

The man is all rhetoric all the time and you keep eating his ideological feces.

Dr. Information

Still blaming Bush, but not blaming Obama for his failed policies. Its 5 years later, when will Obama be to blame in your fairy tale world.


Like that comment Dr info


Coasterfan if your theory is correct that we are still in a dismal state of affairs because of Bush then a person might have to conclude that at the end of Bush 41 the economy started an up swing prior to his leaving office ergo then the good economy of the Clinton era was a result of Bush 41 policies. Also you have contended that the Republican House is responsible for Obama not being able to do better then maybe it was the Democratic Congress in the last two years of the Bush administration that was responsible for the problems then and that would also mean it was the Republican congress that aided Clinton.

Dr. Information

well put…..coaster owned again.



From this morning:

"September saw the U.S. economy add just 148,000 jobs, significantly worse than expected,"


+ 148,000 in 2013 sure beats the heck out of -300,000 in 2008, doesn't it?

Just imagine how much better things COULD be, if the House GOP weren't still paddling in the opposite direction...


Re: "+ 148,000"

Ain't enough. This economy needs to be producing 350K plus monthly for several yrs. to climb outa the hole.

Again, thank "The Bernank." Without him, this economy would be comatose.

BTW: Your “boy” Mr. Krugman asked for the seeds of the housing crisis.


You can lead a horse to water but you can't make them drink. The responsibility to get a job rests on the shoulders of those unemployed.

I never had a problem getting a job. My kids never had a problem getting a job. Might not be the perfect job but they were jobs.

Our society expects the perfect job provided to them. It's not just going to happen.

It's called work. It takes work to find work.


Classic conservative viewpoint: all unemployed/poor people are "lazy" and simply don't want to work. This ignores the math: there are currently 3 unemployed people for every 1 job opening in America.

I'm glad your kids found jobs, but a couple of kids isn't exactly a large sampling of the population, is it? My son graduated with a computer programming degree 5 years ago, and (in a field with relatively high demand) it took him nearly 2 years to find a job in his field. And that's what this article is about. Didn't you read it?!?!?!?!

There are some who are lazy and scam the system, but they aren't leading an easy life, subsisting on a couple hundred $ a week. Far more WANT to find a job - any job - but can't.

The Bizness

it is amazing that when you put that gaining jobs is better than losing jobs the others on this bored simply say it is not enough.

Many people who work part time jobs, work more than one part time job.


Re: "work more than one part time job."

Unfortunately the sum of the parts is not greater than the whole.

Yes the past is important, but the present is where we all live.

Pro-growth economic policies are NOT this POTUS' forte.

BTW: Among all the rest of the rhetoric, wasn't the ACA sold as a jobs program?

The Bizness

As you have stated we live in the present, which is why the economic recovery is slower now. We live in a global economy now, where we have to compete with the entire world to regain manufacturing jobs.

The ACA was not sold as a jobs program, rather as a way of keeping healthcare costs in control and getting as many peoples as possible insured. However, under the program there will need to be many more doctors.


Re: "regain manufacturing jobs."

Due to rising transportation and overseas labor costs, mfging jobs ARE returning.

However, increasingly more are automated.

10-20 yrs. ago what use to take 200 factory workers, now takes 20 using robots and computerized systems.

Check it out: As a percentage of GDP, mfging hasn't chanced appreciably for decades. Now it’s must more value-added production.

I worked in factories over the summers helping to put myself through school. IMO, most that argue for more factory jobs never worked in one.


Wow, he can actually remember that far back!!!!!

The Bizness

I know they ARE returning, I am simply stating that we are competing with an entire world now.

I also am well versed on efficiency and automation.

I guess I don't understand what you want any president to do to get us out of this "McJobs" program you are talking about. Do you think that this is simply a cultural fight, where kids need to learn the value of a good work ethic and not just rely on a circle of relying on assistance from both the government and charities?


Re: "I guess I don't understand what you want any president to do to get us out of this "McJobs" program you are talking about."

For one, dust off and debate "The National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform" (Simpson-Bowles) which Pres. Obama commissioned and THEN ignored.

Found within: Recommendations for lowering the corp. tax rates and broadening the base.

The Bizness

Pres. Obama didn't ignore that...rather the republicans decided they didn't want to go along with any increase in revenue of any sort.


Re: "Pres. Obama didn't ignore that..."

Guess it depends on which lefty news source ya use huh?

Regardless, too much political gamesmanship and not enough fiscal common sense.

In the meantime, I'm positioning (as best as possible) for the next inevitable financial crisis.

"When elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers." - Kenyan proverb


You'll be okay! You got bailed out the last time!



My son graduated with a degree in computer programming and had three job offers to chose from when he graduated. What did he do different from your son? Maybe my son found internships in college on his own and didn't expect someone else to do the work for him. Maybe he was willing to relocate and willing to start out at the bottom and work his way up.

Those who want to work can find work. This article is about those who expect someone else to hand them something for nothing.


Well, if sprinkles has never had a problem, there must not be a problem?



There is not a problem if you believe it's the individual's responsibility to educate themselves and find work.

It's only a problem for those who expect someone else to provide for them.


Spent some time in North Carolina during the last month. The area know as the research triangle is booming. They need laborers to build buildings and homes. They need teachers, nurses and a multitude of other educated individuals to fill the ever growing surge in population.

Just a suggestion for those who can't find work.

What are your suggestions Deer ? Wait for the government to take care of you.


No, I would suggest one do their research and move there if it is possible for them. I know you think everything is "cut and dry" but you have to know that is not real.