September 03, 2008 (The Editor’s Desk is updated each business day.)

Summer 2008 labor force participation of youth

The labor force participation rate for 16- to 24-year-olds—the proportion of that population working or looking for work—was 65.1 percent in July 2008, essentially the same as in July 2007 and about 12 percentage points below its peak for that month in 1989 (77.5 percent).

Labor force participation rate of 16- to 24-year-olds, by sex, July 2005-2008 (not seasonally adjusted)
[Chart data—TXT]

Over the 1989-2008 period, the proportion of youth enrolled in school in July trended up; youth enrolled in school are much less likely than those not in school to be in the labor force.

For several decades prior to 1989, young men's July labor force participation rate showed no clear trend, ranging from 81 to 86 percent. Since July 1989, however, their participation rate has trended down by about 15 percentage points. 

Young women's July labor force participation rate peaked in 1989 after a long-term upward trend; their rate has trended down by about 10 percentage points since then.

These data are a product of the Current Population Survey. The data are not seasonally adjusted. Find out more in "Employment and Unemployment Among Youth—Summer 2008," (PDF) (HTML) news release USDL 08-1212.

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