BLS Jobs Report: Millennial Unemployment is Up to 11.8%

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The Bureau of Labor Statistics just released their monthly jobs report showing unemployment for millennials aged 18-29 ticked up to 11.8%, from 11.6% last month. For young people aged 16-24, unemployment remained at 15.6%. Overall, unemployment in the United States fell to 7.3% as the economy added 169,000 jobs. Regardless of what the numbers say, there is still a long way to go.

One of our key challenges is that political leaders have consistently failed to identify and address the problem of youth unemployment. To fight back against the complacency, this past spring, Young Invincibles set off on our Get the Facts About Youth Unemployment tour. We traveled across the country to identify the best job training facilities and spread the word about their good work. These programs are the solution to reconnecting our generation to the workforce, which is why we are highlighting them and working to bring them to scale.

On the tour we also heard from some inspiring young people working to succeed in the labor force. A number of key themes arose from the conversation. First, young adults often lack the experience necessary coming out of school to succeed in the workforce. They want more training in practical skills, like resume writing and interview preparation. Unfortunately, it’s rarely a part of their school's curriculum.

Another frequent topic was transportation. It often costs money and time to make it to a job site. When there are so few job opportunities in the first place, our generation can end up traveling miles to earn a living. This serves only to exacerbate the lower wage work young people find themselves forced to do in order to remain employed.

Finally, young people expressed the desire for more on-the-job learning, often finding themselves in a "catch-22” where employers demand significant job experience for competitive positions. They routinely deny young people without that experience, leaving a generation with few pathways to break into the labor market to get that first job. It’s a tremendously frustrating situation to say the least.

And while many of the young people spoke of some of the hardships they have encountered in the labor market, we got to see first hand how resilient millennials are. We’re an entrepreneurial, tech savvy, and optimistic generation with plenty to build on.  Young Invincibles plans to draw on that energy in the months ahead as we craft and advocate for solutions to get our generation back on track.

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Rory O'Sullivan

Rory is the Policy Director at Young Invincibles where he oversees the organization’s policy and advocacy work. He is an expert in economic, higher education, and health care policy as they relate to young adults. His work has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Business Week, ABC News Online, Yahoo News, the LA Times, and the Christian Science Monitor among others. Before moving to Washington D.C. for graduate school, Rory worked for a law firm and state senate campaign in his home-town of San Francisco. He graduated from Pomona College in 2006 with a B.A. in Philosophy Politics, and Economics, and he completed a joint J.D./M.P.P. in 2011 at Georgetown University.

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