By: Martha Ross, Carolyn Gatz, John Ng, Richard Kazis and Nicole Prchal Svajlenka, The Brookings Institution
Younger workers consistently experience higher unemployment and less job stability than older workers. Yet the dramatic deterioration in employment outcomes among younger workers during and since the Great Recession creates new urgency about developing more effective bridges into full-time employment for young people, especially those with less than a bachelor’s degree.
Improving the employment status of young adults and helping employers meet workforce needs are complementary goals. Designing strategies to achieve them requires insight into the supply and demand sides of the labor market: both the characteristics of young people and their typical routes into employment as well as the demand for entry-level workers and the market forces that shape employer decisions about hiring and investing in skill development. A quantitative and qualitative inquiry focused on the metropolitan areas of Chicago, Ill. and Louisville, Ky. led to the following insights:
An increasingly diverse younger generation will make up a growing share of the workforce. Improving the educational and employment outcomes of blacks and Hispanics is critical to maintaining a skilled and competitive labor force.