The Dynamics of Youth Unemployment

65 Pages Posted: 7 Jul 2004

See all articles by Kim B. Clark

Kim B. Clark

Harvard Business School; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Brigham Young University Idaho

Lawrence H. Summers

Harvard University; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS)

Date Written: August 1978

Abstract

This paper analyzes the dynamics of youth unemployment. Three broad conclusions emerge. First, the problem of youth joblessness extends beyond the unemployed. We find that over one-half of youth unemployment spells end in labor force withdrawal. Much of youth non-employment is not picked up in the official unemployment statistics, because many young people give up the search for work and leave the labor force. Second, a large part of youth unemployment is accounted for by a relatively small, hard core group of young people who experience long spells of unemployment. While most unemployment spells are short, this is due to the high rates of labor force withdrawal, rather than to job finding. Among male teenagers out of school, for example, we find that over half of unemployment was due to those with more than six months of unemployment in the year. Third, a shortage of attractive jobs is the principle source of long term non-employment. While instability and frequent turnover are major factors in determining the overall pattern of teenage unemployment, we find that the lack of desirable employment opportunities is the crux of the problem for those most seriously affected by youth unemployment.

Suggested Citation

Clark, Kim and Summers, Lawrence H., The Dynamics of Youth Unemployment (August 1978). NBER Working Paper No. w0274. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=236562

Kim Clark (Contact Author)

Harvard Business School ( email )

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Lawrence H. Summers

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Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) ( email )

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