"Tragedy as a generation" for U.S. youth

Teen unemployment is at 24.4 percent, three times the national average. With opportunities so scarce, young jobseekers need to think about all the little things that could hurt their chances.

Most corporations make their voices heard loud and clear in Washington.  So do many demographic groups -- think retirees and the AARP. But advocates say young Americans, aged 16 to 24, are "rapidly becoming the most disadvantaged group in America."

Host David Brancaccio spoke to journalist and economic policy consultant Jeff Madrick, who writes a column in Harper's Magazine, about the travails of today's youth.

"The elderly and lots of other groups have strong lobbying efforts in Washington. The young certainly do not, and we're only becoming aware of that."

About the author

David Brancaccio is the host of Marketplace Morning Report. Follow David on Twitter @DavidBrancaccio
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Mr. Madrick suggests, "I think we need government here" to combat persistently high teenage unemployment. Yet one of the reasons for high teenage unemployment is just that...the government. Making it more expensive (state and federal minimum wage laws) to hire entry level workers (teenagers) gives employers an incentive to hire workers with more experience and maturity. While this may help those with prior job experience, it harms potential workers who are just trying to get started on building their workplace resumes. There would be far more teenagers employed if their labor was not made artificially more expensive by government fiat.

This is exactly what's happening in my home. My 20 year old son cannot get a job. He is devastated. I see his self-confidence gone. (My husband btw, over 50, also cannot get a job.)

This is not what I see. In my field young jobseekers are preferred over boomers. Where I live they are buying the expensive houses and condos.

Good discussion. NPR should keep talking about this. Like Jeff Madrick mentions, programs like Peace Corps and using infrastructure programs to create jobs are a great place to start.

I have written my own thoughts about this and posted some interesting charts on my blog at www.investcafe.org



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