The Youth Unemployment Crisis Hits African-Americans Hardest : Code Switch : NPR: Young people are being chased out of the labor market. Though the national unemployment rate has fallen steadily in recent months, youth unemployment remains stubbornly high, and the jobless rate is even higher among young minorities. For young people between the ages of 16 and 24, unemployment is more than twice the national rate, at 14.2 percent. For African-Americans, that rate jumps to 21.4 percent.
Of course, discrimination could be a factor. But according to William Spriggs, an economist at Howard University, the trend is also being driven by a sluggish economy. As he told Morning Edition's Renee Montagne, there is still a backlog of Americans who are unemployed or underemployed as a result of the Great Recession, creating more competition for even minimum wage jobs. In a job market where many people with a college education are settling for jobs outside of their fields, a teenager looking for a summer job will find the market crowded.
Another big problem, says Spriggs, is the absence of adequate job information. In most states, companies are not required to publicly list all of their job openings. As a result, there are huge disparities in labor market information, based as much on who you know as what you know.