Why the Jobless Rate for 16 to 29-Year-Olds is Highest it's Been Since 1948

When the unemployment/employment figures come out every month, the overall rate dominates headlines. But plenty of stories are buried in the other figures. Take, for instance, the fact that the unemployment rate for 16-29 year-olds is the highest it's been since 1948.

There are lots of reasons for this increase. The Wall Street Journal said parents are staying in their jobs longer, so the openings that might have resulted from their retirement aren't available right now.

The Journal pointed out that parents are less able to help young college graduates pay bills. Graduates are having to find jobs quickly, then, even if the jobs have nothing to do with their area of study. College financial aid officers are seeing the effects:

"Johns Hopkins last year added $2 million in financial aid just to accommodate the surge of additional aid requests for its 5,000 undergrads. Some 61% of higher-education institutions reported an increase of 10% or more in financial-aid applications than the previous year, according to a September 2009 survey from the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators. More than a million more federal financial-aid applications were filed during the beginning of 2009 than in the beginning of 2008, with a 16.3% increase among dependent students.

" 'We had folks who never needed aid before and now they have one, two parents unemployed,' says Vincent Amoroso, the school's director of student financial services. 'And these are folks who used to make $100,000 or $200,000 a year who are coming to see us.' "

Graduations are coming up soon. It might be a great time to start talking with people who are about to launch into the workforce or into college. Contact the career centers at schools. 

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    Al Tompkins

    Al Tompkins is The Poynter Institute’s senior faculty for broadcasting and online. He has taught thousands of journalists, journalism students and educators in newsrooms around the world.


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