Teens face toughest job market on record

NEW YORK (CNN) – It’s tough out there. That’s the message of a new survey that looks at employment opportunities for teenagers and young adults. Why are they having such a hard time finding work?

Parents, listen up! Before you get on your child’s case about not finding work, remember: these days, it’s hard to find a job.

Just 26-percent of teens, aged 16 to 19, had a job in 2011. That number has plunged. 11 years earlier, 45-percent of teens had a job.

This data comes from the Brookings Institution, which also says the current teenage employment level is the lowest on record, in the post World War Two era.

The situation isn’t that much better for college kids. Look at 20 to 24-year olds. 61-percent of them had a job in 2011, compared to 72-percent in 2000.

Most likely to be out of work? Lower-income young adults, men, and blacks. Brookings Institution says there are a few issues at play and one of them is the educational system.

The group says high schools should do a better job preparing students for college, possibly by offering dual enrollment. Some high schools allow students to go to a local university for classes for part of the day.

College isn’t for everyone. Brookings says job training should be a big emphasis, including 2-year degrees or apprenticeships.

Regardless of what changes are made, the good news is that as the economy gets better, job opportunities should increase.

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