The Class of 2012 - Labor Market for Young Graduates Remains Grim

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Though the labor market is slowly improving, the Great Recession that began in December 2007 was so long and severe that the crater it left in the labor market continues to be devastating for workers of all ages. Unemployment has been above eight percent for more than three years, and 12.7 million workers remain unemployed today. The weak labor market has been, and continues to be, particularly tough on young workers: At 16.4 percent, the March unemployment rate for workers under age 25 was twice as high as the national average. Though the labor market is now headed in the right direction, the prospects for young high school and college graduates remain grim. This briefing paper examines the labor market that confronts young graduates who are not enrolled in additional schooling—specifically, high school graduates age 17-20 and college graduates age 21-24


Heidi Shierholz, Hilary Wething, Natalie Sabadish

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