The unemployment rate may have gone down slightly in August, but that was in part because more people have given up looking for jobs. More concerning, however, is the fact the shrinking labor force is losing the very job seekers that are supposed to make up your future employee base.
According to a report from the Labor Department, there were 435,000 fewer young adults ages 16 to 24 without jobs in August than in July. Yet only 27,000 are currently looking for work. According to CNN, this number takes into account seasonal workers as well as those headed back to school.
As a result, the report states that the percentage of young people in the current workforce is the lowest it has been since 1955. In August, the unemployment rate for young people rose to 16.8% from 16.4% in July.
Are they simply not interested in work? Not exactly. Some have opted to go back to school or wait on the sidelines until the job market improves. "I don't think they're more lazy,” Heidi Shierholz, labor economist at the Economic Policy Institute told CNN. “It's that there are less opportunities for them. They have it rough."
A recent LA Times article agrees, suggesting that the trend of young people giving up on the job search has been increasing over the last few years, making way for older men and women seeking work. Nearly one in five Americans ages 65 and older are looking for jobs, the Times said. This, in effect, means fewer jobs for younger, less experienced job seekers.
“One of the reasons is young people can't find jobs because older people are not leaving the workforce,” Sung Won Sohn, an economist at Cal State Channel Islands, told the Times.