Youth Unemployment Surging

According to an annual survey from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the teen and young adult unemployment rate is surging.

The survey shows 16 to 24 year olds are still struggling to get even entry level jobs due to the lingering effects of the recession and competition from older workers.

Jose Lopez Garcia of Dorchester is a 23 year old father of two.  He says he’s been looking for a job for months:

“It’s so hard to find a job nowadays.  I’ve been looking for a job for over 3 months.  I can’t find anything.  So my options are either job corp, military and school.  School seems like such a far opportunity now.  It’s so expensive, I don’t want to go in debt, and I don’t even think I can pay it off.”

The youth unemployment rate has more than doubled since 2000.  In 2011, the last year of the survey, 1 in 7 young adults in Massachusetts was actively looking for work but couldn’t find it. 

Noah Berger, the president of the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, which worked with the Casey foundation on the report, says lack of work experience in the early years reduces future employability and salary earnings:

“When youth are not employed during these years and when they’re not getting skills, it has a long term effect on their productivity 10, 20, 30 years from now. “

Over the past decade, the Commonwealth has invested more in youth jobs programs. But the funding has fluctuated year to year depending on the economy. Nationally, 6.5 million young people are both out of school and out of work.