Dreams Deferred: Young Workers and Recent Graduates in the US Economy

Six years after the start of the Great Recession, today’s youth still face one of the worst labor markets of any generation. Not only is unemployment and underemployment a real problem, but our current very low rate of youth labor force participation may mean that millions of youth never become fully active in the labor market. This potentially affects everyone’s future income growth and standard of living. Raising the rate of labor force participation needs to be a central focus of federal policymakers, in order to strengthen our economy and raise the prospects of low-income Americans. To do this, we need to make it easier, not harder, for companies to increase hiring. We also need to encourage individuals to re-enter the labor force, not discourage them. Government assistance for the jobless is important, but the re-employment of the jobless is what we need to reduce poverty and lower income inequality.

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