US residents have faced tough employment prospects in recent years, but perhaps no group has been harder hit than those between the ages of 16 and 24.
A report published by the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center says that 13.8 percent of Massachusetts residents between the ages of 16 and 24 are unemployed — more than double the unemployment rate for young people in 2000, when it was 6.7 percent. (The figures do not take into account people who are not seeking work, such as full-time students.)
Lew Finfer, director of the Massachusetts Communities Action Network, one of the organizations that comprise the state’s Youth Jobs Coalition, said adults can underestimate the importance of providing young people with job opportunities.
“The popular viewpoint is that when young people have jobs, it keeps them out of trouble, and they use the money to buy hamburgers and iPods,” Finfer said. “But the truth is that so many kids are using these jobs to help their families.”