Examines employment rates for teenagers in Chicago, and the U.S. in general, from 2000-2014; trends in employment to population ratio and rates across subgroups  in the largest cities across the nations; and the incidents of disconnection among teens and young adults in the City of Chicago

“The post-2000 decline in teen employment is part of a broader pattern of decline in employment rates among large parts (but not all) of the working-age population in the U.S. and Illinois. In Illinois the chance that a teen will be employed has fallen nearly in half since 2000” (p. 2).

“Should we be concerned that teens are working so much less than has been the case in the past? There are mixed opinions about this question with many of those concerned with secondary school systems around the nation arguing that work during teen years may reduce learning time available to young people, without contributing much to these teens except some income that is often used on frivolous teen consumption activities.

However, an alternative view (one to which the authors subscribe) is that mixing work and school is a positive experience for most teens and the reduction in work experience at a young age has negative longer-term consequences on economic and educational outcomes in adulthood….

“[To determine the findings for this report the authors used two] major data sources - Monthly Current Population Surveys (CPS) and American Community Surveys (ACS) were used to generate labor market outcomes for teens and young adults in the city of Chicago, Illinois, and the U.S. appearing in this report. The CPS is a monthly national household survey conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau for the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics with a nationally representative sample of approximately 60,000 households per month. The survey asks working-age non-institutionalized household members 16 and older about their labor force status, job seeking activities, hours of work, industry and occupations of employment etc.  The ACS is a national survey conducted year-round by the U.S. Census Bureau. Nearly 3 million households are randomly surveyed throughout the year. The ACS collects detailed information on demographic and socioeconomic characteristics of household members, including their citizenship status, place of birth, place of work, their educational attainment levels and school enrollment status, college major field of study, labor force status, industry and occupation of jobs, their mean annual earnings, commuting behavior, receipt of various government cash and in-kind transfers, health insurance status, home ownership status, property tax payment etc” (p. 20).

(Abstractor: Author)

Major Findings & Recommendations

“Teens and young adults who are out of school and out of work (‘disconnected youth’) face adverse labor market consequences in their adult years, including higher incidence of unemployment, reduced earnings, and higher incidence of poverty. Among young males, being out of school and out of work is strongly linked to incarceration. Out-of-school and out-of-work young females have higher probability of being single mothers, being jobless, and being poor which have adverse impacts on the well-being of their children. Jobless youth are also susceptible to various behavioral and health problems. Given their joblessness problems and lower earnings potential, out-of-school and out-of-work youth rely heavily on cash and in-kind transfers from the government to make their living. The likelihood of being out-of-school and out-of-work is found to be higher among central city minority youth, among those in poor neighborhoods, and those living with single parents…. Disconnection rates among teens and young adults in Chicago city varied by gender within each race-ethnic group. Among Black and White youth, disconnection rates were higher among males than among females. However, among Hispanic youth, females were more likely to be disconnected than males…. The low disconnection rate among Hispanic males was due to higher work rates among foreign-born Hispanic young males without a college degree in the city. These findings for Hispanics in Chicago were found to be consistent with disconnection patterns in both Illinois and the U.S. In 2013, the disconnection rate among male White teens in the city of Chicago was 3 percentage points higher than their female peers (9% versus 6%) while among Black male teens, the disconnection rate was under 2 percentage points higher than their female counterparts (12% versus 10%). In contrast, the disconnection rate of Hispanic male teens (9%) was 4 percentage points lower than that of their female counterparts (13%)” (p.16-18). (Abstractor: Author)