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Young workers struggle to get in the door
Unemployment, participation show teens are ‘endangered species,’ according to new state report
Though the state has added back jobs during its Great Recession recovery, young workers face high unemployment rates in Oregon.
The State Employment Department on Thursday released a new study, “Endangered: Youth in the Labor Force,” that details the problem young workers, ages 16 to 24, have had finding jobs. The demographic makes up 13 percent of the labor force but accounted for 29 percent of Oregon’s unemployed in 2013.
The study also shows that the labor force participation rate among teenagers and young adults reached its lowest point on record last year. Prior to the recession, teens and young adults were participating at more than 45 percent; now it’s closer to 35 percent.
“I applied everywhere” said Ben Walker, a 21-year-old assistant manager at La Grande Eat & Run. “I went to school out of state and came back in December.”
Through some friends, the EOU student was able to get his job in a couple of months.
Union County faces a distinct challenge in that it has “far higher shares of people ages 15 to 24 than their pre-college (under 15) population would suggest,” the report says, due to the presence of EOU.
For the full story, see Friday's edition of The Observer