Average unemployment over the 18 months ending July dropped to 7.9 percent for women aged 16-24. That’s the lowest since April 1956, when Americans saw the very first episode of “As the World Turns.”
The only other era when the 18-month average came even close to the 8 percent line was in 2001, right before the dot-com bubble burst, when it hit 8.9 percent for several months.
Youth unemployment is significant because it signals whether young people can land jobs straight out of college or high school.
Young men are also seeing declining unemployment, though it hasn’t reached such historic proportions—the 18-month average dropped to 10.1 percent in July.
Only people who actively sought a job over the past four weeks are counted as unemployed—that means students aren’t counted unless they’ve been seeking a job, including a part-time one.
The way unemployment numbers are counted omits people who’ve given up on job hunting. In this case, however, the improvements are supported by the broader data.
The labor force participation rate, which tracks the percentage of people working or looking for work, has mostly declined for young men since the 1970s. But it has actually slightly recovered over the past 18 months.
Young women have increasingly streamed into the labor force since the 1960s, with the only major declines after the recessions of the 1980s, 2001, and 2008.
The historically low young women unemployment overlaps with the presidency of Donald Trump. While Trump can’t take full credit for the state of the economy, his policies have positively contributed. He’s cut regulations and taxes and encouraged companies to put their American interests above their global interests.
Trump highlighted the declining youth unemployment in an Aug. 17 tweet. “Just announced, youth unemployment is at a 50 year low!”