Monday, June 9, 2008

Teens and Immigrants especially hard hit by weak economy

On Friday June 6th, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released the May 2008 unemployment figures. Headlines noted the results as evidence of the weak economy, the stock market tanked (probably more on oil prices than unemployment figures), and many noted that the .5% increase in the unemployment rate was the greatest increase since 1986.

Of course, economic downturns are not felt equally across the economic (or demographic) spectrum. The
BLS press release clearly indicates that those age 16-19 experienced the greatest increase in (seasonally adjusted) unemployment from April (15.4) to May (18.7). Yes, that’s right, teenagers experienced a whopping 3.3% point increase in unemployment in May.

Now, teens aren’t a large proportion of the labor force and adult men and women also experienced increases in unemployment, although these increases where much smaller (.3% and .5% respectively).

If you have a teen who is frustrated with their attempts to find a summer job, cut him/her a break! The graph below depicts the (seasonally adjusted) May unemployment rates from 1998 to the present. Clearly the last two years have NOT been good.

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