Youth Unemployment Drops in Lane County in 2017

by Brian Rooney

October 18, 2018

Unemployment among youth is historically higher than it is among older workers. The unemployment rate of Lane County residents ages 16 to 19 averaged close to 20 percent in the years leading up to the Great Recession. The rate was around 10 percent for Lane County residents ages 20 to 24 during that period, while the unemployment rate for all ages was about 6 percent.
The recession caused less opportunity and more competition from older, more experienced workers for available jobs, sending youth unemployment rates in Lane County to record highs. These rates remained elevated at around 25 percent for several years following the recession, even as rates for older workers declined to close to pre-recession levels. The 2017 data suggests that the long recovery and tight labor market have caused youth unemployment to drop back to pre-recession levels.

Having a part-time or summer job used to be the normal situation for many teenagers. In Oregon, summer teen employment has seen an overall decline since the mid-1990s, dropping from around 5,000 to half that in 2017.
In 2017 the top industries for teen summer hiring in Lane County were accommodation and food services (35%), retail trade (16%), and administrative and support services (12%), which is mostly staffing agencies. Although the top industries of employment were the same in 1996, there has been a slight shift toward these three industries and away from others, including agriculture and construction.

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