More than five years after the end of the Great Recession, the unemployment rate for Connecticut young people between 20 and 24 is still higher than 10 percent.
People are classified as unemployed by the Bureau of Labor Statistics if they do not have a job, have actively looked for work in the prior four weeks, and are currently available for work. Students are not counted in unemployment figures.
Historically, employment among workers in their early 20s has lagged behind other age groups. But during the recession, unemployment was exaggerated. Since then the gap has shrunk.
The first thing that most businesses do in a recession— even before layoffs— is stop hiring, said Patrick Flaherty, from the Office of Research and Information at the Connecticut Department of Labor. This has a disproportionate effect on those joining the labor market for the first time, like recent graduates, he said.
Even after a recession, some businesses will work to rehire workers who had been laid off before hiring begins.
In 2010, young people in the state suffered the largest rate of unemployment of any age group at 16.2 percent. Since then, the rate has decreased until leveling off at 10.4 percent in 2013.
For young people between the ages of 25 and 34, the unemployment rate actually rose between 2013 and 2014, going against the trends for all other age groups. Young people between the ages of 20 and 24 saw a spike in unemployment before the recession in 2005 up to 12.8 percent. According to Flaherty, the outlier data is can be attributed to the smaller sample size, which leads to higher variance within the group.
The national trend is slightly less erratic than Connecticut’s. There was a decline in all age groups between 2003 and 2007. Then the recession began and unemployment rates climbed until 2010 before starting to drop again.
Nationally, the period around 2009 was the worst recession since World War II.
As of 2014, the unemployment rate had not fallen to pre-recession levels. Connecticut’s unemployment trend, though slightly more extreme, mostly mirrored the national trend.