Friday, August 12, 2011


Average Teen Unemployment Rate in D.C. is 50.1%, Analysis Shows

An analysis based on U.S. Census Bureau data by the Employment Policies Institute (EPI) shows that the average unemployment rate for teens ages 16 to 19 in the District of Columbia was 50.1 percent as of June 2011. This corresponds with data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) showing that for D.C. the annual average unemployment rate for teens in 2010 was 49.8 percent.

Michael Saltsman, research fellow at EPI, provided the 50.1 percent figure to as an update of  an analysis he compiled based on the Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey.

The 50.1 percent figure is almost double the average teen unemployment rate in June 2007 in the District, when it was 26.2 percent, according to Saltsman.

Since 2007, the rate has increased each year: 29.5 percent in June 2008, 44.7 percent in 2009 and 48.8 percent in 2010, based on EPI’s analysis.

“We’re in the midst of the third summer in a row where teen unemployment has been above 20 percent,” Saltsman said when he announced his report on July 8.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not keep monthly unemployment rates on teens, but its data showing the average annual unemployment rate for teens ages 16 to 19 in D.C. for 2010 was 49.8 percent.

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The state with the second highest unemployment in the EPI analysis, California, also closely mirrors the BLS annual average for 2010 -- 34.4 percent compared to EPI’s 34.6 percent.

The latest data from the BLS on average teen unemployment nationwide – all 50 states and the District of Columbia -- as of July 2011 was 25 percent.

“Young people are facing more competition for fewer jobs, a lingering consequence of the recession and wage mandates that have eliminated entry-level opportunities,” Saltsman said. “The consequences for this generation of young people missing out on their first job are severe, including an increased risk of earning low wages and being unemployed again in future years.”

Saltsman’s analysis, which was released on July 8, ranked the 20 states with the highest average teen unemployment through May 2011: the first column shows the actual teen unemployment rate over the teen labor force; the  second column reflects the number of discouraged teen workers added to the unemployment rate (also compiled from Census Bureau data).
  • District of Columbia – 49.0 percent, 52.2 percent
  • California – 34.6 percent, 36.2 percent
  • Georgia – 34.6 percent, 35.7 percent
  • Nevada – 34.3 percent, 36.4 percent
  • Washington – 33.2 percent, 34.2 percent
  • Idaho – 31.8 percent, 33.1 percent
  • West Virginia – 30.2 percent, 32.9 percent
  • Missouri – 29.6 percent, 31.2 percent
  • Florida – 29.4 percent, 31.4 percent
  • Kentucky – 29.0 percent, 30.3 percent
  • South Carolina – 28.5 percent, 29.0 percent
  • Rhode Island – 28.0 percent, 29.6 percent
  • Michigan – 27.6 percent, 29.1 percent
  • Mississippi – 27.5 percent, 30.7 percent
  • Tennessee – 26.9 percent, 27.4 percent
  • Arizona – 26.7 percent, 28.2 percent
  • Arkansas – 26.7 percent, 28.2 percent
  • Colorado – 26.1 percent, 26.7 percent
  • Illinois – 26.1 percent, 27.5 percent
  • Oregon – 25.8 percent, 26.4 percent