Fresh off a win to keep student-loan interest rates down, a youth-advocacy group would like to channel that energy into improving the job market.
Young Invincibles released a sobering employment report Tuesday showing 16.5 percent of Americans ages 16 to 24 are without work. Unemployment is 30.2 percent for young African-Americans and 20.5 percent for Latino youths. And many more have given up looking for work, which the organization estimates means that fewer than half of young people hold any kind of job.
The Washington-based nonprofit's analysis looks at jobs that existed before the recession for young people compared with today's employment picture and estimates that the economy is missing 2.7 million youth jobs. Without intervention, even the most upbeat assumptions are that the youth labor market will not fully recover until 2021, according to the report.
The organization hopes that No End in Sight? Young Invincibles Releases Report on Youth Jobs Gap will mobilize young people to pressure policymakers for change. The report suggests it's unlikely the labor market will recover quickly on its own.
The Young Invincibles specifically call for expanded investments in:
•AmeriCorps a full-time, team-based residential program for men and women ages 18-24;
•Youth Opportunity Grants from the U.S. Department of Labor;
•YouthBuild, a federal program for low-income young people to earn their GED or high school diploma while building affordable housing;
•TANF Emergency Fund created by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 to assist states in expanding services during the recession; and
•Conservation Corps, which uses volunteers in every state to improve community and the environment.
Adding 500,000 jobs a year to AmeriCorps would cost $6.5 billion, approximately the monthly cost of maintaining troops in Afghanistan, the report notes. It adds that the number of funded AmeriCorps jobs is shrinking at a time when interest in the program is growing.
Young Invincibles underscores the long-term negative impact of youth unemployment. "Permanently depressed youth employment is unacceptable," the report says. "It will scar not only Millennials, but each successive generation of young Americans. ... This problem is solvable; we have the tools to create jobs for young people that will get them back to work and back on track for economic success."
The report is part of the organization's Young American Dream Agenda that will be released later this summer.