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The current economic climate has made securing and sustaining a job difficult for all Americans, including youth. Certain populations of youth—including those who are or have been involved in the foster care system or the juvenile justice system, runaway or homeless youth, youth who have dropped out of high school, pregnant or parenting youth, and youth with disabilities—have additional challenges in getting early work experience. These youth often face increased barriers to employment, such as lack of documentation, transportation, child care, or support. They may have a transient lifestyle or have to overcome stigma, mental illness, substance abuse, previous felonies, or a juvenile record. Despite the challenges, most young people have held a job by the time they are 25,1 with many seeking employment during summer months. In 2013, more than half (50.7 percent2) of young people between the ages of 16 and 24 were employed between April and July, an increase of 2.1 million youth for the same period in 2012.3

Data Sources

To find the most recent data on youth employment and unemployment, visit the data sources below.

National Longitudinal Surveys
The National Longitudinal Surveys, including the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY), are designed to gather information at multiple points in time on labor market activities and other significant life events of several groups of men and women.

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) is the principal fact-finding agency for the federal government in the broad field of labor economics and statistics. Data can be found on youth employment, unemployment, employment by education level, employment by race and gender, and employment for young people with disabilities. See the range of data reports available at http://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/youth.htm.

1 U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2013a
2 This represents the proportion of the 16- to 24-year-old civilian noninstitutional population with a job.
3 U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2013b

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