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Growing Number of Young Adult Workers Not Working

CNBC reports that roughly one in 10 young adults ages 15 to 24 are "being left out and left behind in many ways" from the job market. In May, the unemployment rate for these workers went up to 9%, which is considered typical. However, labor economist Ali Bustamante told CNBC that we should expect that rate to be lower.

Young men constitute a larger share of the 15 to 24 "NEET" unemployment rate (NEET stands for "not in employment, education, or training). Labor economist Julia Pollak attributes it to reduced opportunities in historically male jobs, like construction and manufacturing. Meanwhile, the number of women entering higher education and obtaining better employment outcomes is increasing.

These numbers also reflect that employers are trying to hold on to their current talent, according to a global talent expert (CNBC). This "talent hoarding" leads to fewer available jobs for well-qualified workers. Employers are limiting new hires, making it difficult for entry-level workers to find positions. Twenty to twenty-four-year-olds saw the most significant reduction in labor force participation during the pandemic and still cannot regain that ground. As more candidates apply for the same limited positions, the length of employment gets longer, with those individuals unemployed for longer than six months up to 21%. Experts recommend these workers focus on positions that will help them build skills to transition into better roles later.