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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

American jobs are starting to come back, but youth unemployment is still high. And many young people are postponing college.

Why it matters: Young people across the country are falling behind because of the pandemic, and they will feel the macroeconomic consequences of these months of pain long after the pandemic is over.

What's happening: Young workers disproportionately lost their jobs as industries in which they're overrepresented, such as hospitality and retail, were hit hard during the pandemic.

  • Many young people who aren't already in the workforce are delaying their education because they don't want to spend the money on remote school or because their families aren't able to afford it. And many others have graduated but can't find their first jobs.
  • And it's not just the United States. Youth are facing the same hardships in the U.K., South Africa and beyond.

By the numbers: In October 2020, 62.7% of U.S. high school graduates were enrolled in college, down from 66.2% in 2019, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data. And 67.3% of 20- and 29-year-olds with bachelor's degrees were employed in 2020, compared with 76% in 2019.

  • And while youth-dominated service jobs are coming back as cities and states open up, hospitality and tourism job openings are still down nearly 10% when compared with February 2020, per data from the jobs site Indeed.
  • Retail jobs, however, are returning at around the pace that the labor market at large is coming back, Indeed notes.
  • The unemployment rate is 10.3% among 20- to 24-year-olds, and 13.3% among 18- to 19-year-olds, compared with the 5.3% unemployment among those over 25.

"We’re still in a huge hole," says Elise Gould of the Economic Policy Institute. "We are far from being recovered now."

The stakes: "There can be long-term repercussions for young people," Stephanie Aaronson, director of Brookings' economic studies program, tells Axios.

  • Young workers who have lost their jobs face increased debt burdens and housing insecurity.
  • Those who are delaying education will inevitably fall behind on getting a foothold in their careers. And those graduating into the pandemic-era economy may end up taking jobs for lower wages, which can lead to delays in buying cars and homes and starting families.
  • All of these domino effects could drag down millions of young people for several years, Aaronson says.

Go deeper

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
May 3, 2021 - Economy & Business

A jobs report for the ages

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Expectations are growing for Friday's nonfarm payrolls report to be a big one, with some economists expecting it could show the U.S. added jobs in April at a pace not seen since last year's record-setting hiring spree in May and June.

Why it matters: While it is not expected to match or exceed June's 4.8 million, some economists believe we could see more than 2 million jobs added, compounding the momentum from March when American employers added 916,000 jobs.

Twenty-somethings turned out in 2020

Adapted from U.S. Census Bureau data analyzed by William Frey/Brookings Institution; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Americans from ages 18 to 24 voted in last year's general election at the highest rate since at least 2000, according to an analysis of new census data by the Brookings Institution’s William Frey.

Between the lines: For the first time in at least two decades, more than half of 18- to 24-year-olds voted overall, rising from 43% in 2016.

28 mins ago - Health

Biden reaches agreements with Uber and Lyft to give free rides to vaccine sites

A coronavirus vaccination site in Miami on May 10. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The Biden administration has reached agreements with ride-sharing companies Uber and Lyft to offer free rides to coronavirus vaccination sites through July 4, the White House announced Tuesday.

Why it matters: The free rides, starting in the next two weeks, are part of the Biden administration's push to administer at least one vaccine dose to 70% of U.S. adults by Independence Day.