Jobs for youth today spares economic burden tomorrow

Graduating students are seen during the commencement ceremony at Ohio State University on May 5, 2013 in Columbus, Ohio.

For college graduates about to enter the workforce, Jeff Madrick has some advice: “I would prepare to look very hard for a job and not blame yourself if you don’t get one.”

Madrick wrote an article in the latest edition of Harper’s in which he calls for the government to provide subsidies or jobs to unemployed young people.

“This is a place where government should be moving in,” he says, or we risk economic problems in the future. “When young people don’t get jobs, we set ourselves up for an explosive situation down the road. Their future performance as citizens, as bread winners, as household-formers, is deeply affected by the kinds of jobs they get as very young people.”

Madrick dismisses the political gridlock in Washington as a barrier to a government-led solution to youth unemployment.

“If we only talked about what this Congress can do, we may as well not talk about anything.” He says it’s vital the government is the best actor because, “opportunities are not spread naturally by an economy like ours alone.”

About the author

Sarah Gardner is a reporter on the Marketplace sustainability desk.

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