Where Have All the Young Workers Gone?



By Lecia Parks Langston, Senior Economist


"We should be trying to reach the young workers because that’s when you’re most idealistic and have least fear." –John Lennon


Young Workers in Utah and the U.S. Comprise a Smaller Share of the Labor Force


One of the most striking labor market changes of the last decade and a half is the declining participation of teenagers in the labor force. Nationally, teenage participation topped out at almost 59 percent in the late 1970s, and today stands at roughly 36 percent. While the trend isn’t as pronounced in Utah as it is nationwide; here, too, young people are less likely to be employed or looking for work than they were as the century began. The reasons for this phenomena are not clear. However, more after-school activities and increased borrowing to pay for post-secondary education (rather than earning while learning) may factor into this decline.


On the other hand, some characteristics of youth workers have changed little. Utah teens still show some of the highest labor force participation rates in the nation. Also, young people continue to show the highest unemployment rates, the lowest wages and the top turnover rates of any age group. More...








Utah's Employment Summary: February 2019



Employment for February 2019 grew by an estimated 2.8 percent, adding 42,400 jobs to the economy since February 2018. Utah’s current employment level registers 1,536,300. No revisions were made to January’s job growth rate.


February’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate declined one-tenth of a percentage point from the prior month to 3.0 percent. Approximately 48,300 Utahns were unemployed during the month and actively seeking work. The national unemployment rate decreased two-tenths of a percentage point from last month to 3.8 percent. More...





Utah's Employment Summary: January 2019



Utah’s nonfarm payroll employment for January 2019 grew by an estimated 3.2 percent, adding 47,600 jobs to the economy since January 2018. Utah’s current employment level registers 1,526,600. December’s job growth rate was revised downward three-tenths to 2.8 percent.


January’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate declined one-tenth of a percentage point from the prior month to 3.1 percent. Approximately 49,400 Utahns were unemployed during the month and actively seeking work. The national unemployment rate increased one-tenth of a percentage point from last month to 4.0 percent. More...