Black Teens Fall Behind in Job Market

April 19, 2011  |  

(State Journal Register) — For teens, joblessness is nearly three times as high as Illinois’ overall unemployment rate of just under 10 percent.  If you happen to be black, the situation is worse.  In Illinois, the unemployment rate of white youths is about half of that experienced by black teenagers — 24.7 percent to 47.7 percent. And unemployment is more persistent among black teenagers, while joblessness among young whites and Hispanics appears to rise and fall with the health of the economy.  Just 11.7 percent of the black teen population is working, while 30 percent of white youths and 26 percent of Hispanic teens hold jobs.  Greg Rivara of the Illinois Department of Employment Security said current state unemployment rates for teens reflect national economic woes. But Rivara said it’s impossible to determine how individual segments of the labor market will fare as the economy recovers.  “One of the pressures for teen employment is the overall unemployment rate — individuals are accepting and seeking positions that they might not normally do in more robust economic times,” Rivara said. “The more we focus on subsets, the more difficult to determine what will occur because we simply have never been in this position.”

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