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Barriers to Entry: Fewer Out-of-School and Out-of-Work Young Adults, As Warning Signs Emerge

JobsFirstNYC commissioned and contributed to this study examining how young adults aged 18–24 are faring in the New York City labor market. It provides an analysis of current levels and recent trends in the demand for young adult labor, as distinguished by the employment and wage patterns of the jobs available to young people, and of the key characteristics of the supply of young adult labor, as represented by the demographics of 18- to 24-year-olds. Throughout the analysis, we place particular emphasis on the population of 18- to 24-year-olds who are out of school and out of work.

In the five years after the last economic recession, New York City has seen drastic declines in the number and share of young people aged 18 to 24 who are out of school and out of work (OSOW): from 187,588 and 22 percent of the young adult population, to 136,483 and 17 percent of the age group. Young adults have both been more able to find work during the economic recovery, and are attending school at higher rates. At the same time, despite increases in employment, there have been no net increases in full-time jobs – all gains are in part-time work, even for young adults not attending school. And while high school graduation and college enrollment have increased, so have the rates and numbers of young people leaving college without a degree. Our new study, Barriers to Entry: Fewer Out-of-School and Out-of-Work Young Adults, As Warning Signs Emerge,  analyzes this data and presents recommendations for how New York City officials should use it to inform public policy.

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The purpose of Barriers to Entry reports are to raise questions through an in-depth analysis of labor market data and, based on our findings, offer a set of implications for policymakers concerned with reducing the numbers of OSOW young adults. We hope that the series can serve as a vehicle for discussions about how JobsFirstNYC’s partners in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors can make use of this data to advance their work.

Barriers to Entry is a series conceived of, contributed to, and commissioned by JobsFirstNYC. The introduction and recommendations included in this report are authored by JobsFirstNYC. The Community Service Society was commissioned to conduct the research and analysis for the study with ongoing guidance and support from JobsFirstNYC.

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