Tennessee Youth Employment at its Worst in 50 Years

Dec 5, 2012

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WMOT)  --  Jobs continue to be hard to come by for Tennessee’s young people. A report out this week says only about 1 in 4 Tennessee teens found employment in 2011.

Compiled by the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s “Kids Count” project, the report says employment for youths between the ages of 16 to 24 is at its lowest point in 50 years.

Things were slightly better for young people between the ages of 20 and 24. About sixty percent of people in that age group looking for employment found it last year.

Linda O’neal directs the Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth.

“As a result of the economic downturn, many displaced older workers are now in what formerly would have been starter jobs for young people in retail or fast food, and that means that young people are having much more difficulty obtaining those kinds of jobs that help them develop good work skills.”

O’neal notes that Tennessee is one of the ten worst states in the nation for youth employment.

Projections are that failure to keep the nation’s young people gainfully employed during the economic downturn will eventually cost taxpayers $1.5 trillion.