As of July 2011, the employment-population ratio for youth was at 48.8 percent, an all time record low for the series, the Bureau of Labor Statistics recently reported. Historically, July is the highest point in summertime employment for 16- to 24-year-olds.

The graph below looks at the employment-population ratio for youths – or the proportion of 16- to 24-year-old non-institutional civilians that were employed.

Compared to July 2010, youth employment-population ratios were slightly lower in July 2011.Youth employment-population groups, broken down by demographic, were as follows — men (50.2 percent), women (47.3 percent), whites (52.3 percent), blacks (34.6 percent), Asians (40.5 percent), and Hispanics (42.9 percent).

Typically during the summer months, large numbers of high school and college students search for or take on summer jobs, and many graduates enter the labor market to look for or begin permanent work. This summer however was marked by stunted growth, as the youth labor force only grew by 2.4 million, or 11.8 percent.

The labor force participation rate for all youth was at 59.5 percent, another record low for July. (The labor force participation rate is the proportion of the population of 16 to 24 years old’s working or looking for work) The July 2011 youth labor force participation rate was 1.0 percent lower than the July 2010 rate.

“In July 2011, 18.6 million 16- to 24-year-olds were employed, about the same as last year,’ the B.L.S. confirmed. “This summer’s increase in youth employment—from April to July—was 1.7 million, down slightly from last summer (1.8 million).”

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