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July 2012 Policy Study, Number 12-7

   

Teen Unemployment in Iowa

   

Statistics on Teen Unemployment in Iowa

   

 

Looking at the data for unemployment in Iowa for the last decade[1], we can see that teens in Iowa face more challenges in looking for work than the population as a whole. (See Table 1.) Among teens age 16-19 years old, the unemployment rate was 12.3 percent in 2002, significantly higher than the 3.9 percent unemployment rate for Iowans in general. In the years since 2002, the unemployment rate for teens age 16-19 has never dropped below ten percent, with the highest rate of 16.3 percent coming in the years 2009 and 2010. In 2011, the rate did improve a bit, dropping down to an unemployment rate of 13.8 percent for teens age 16-19 years old.[2]

 

Table 1. Unemployment Rates in Iowa, 2002-2011

 

A similar pattern can be seen for high school graduates age 18-20 years old. In 2002, the unemployment rate for high school graduates age 18-20 years old was 9.6 percent — below the rate for teens 16-19 years old, but again significantly higher than the 3.9 percent unemployment rate for Iowans in general. The unemployment rate for high school graduates age 18-20 years old rose to 15.2 percent in 2003, and has not dropped below ten percent in the years following. The unemployment rate for high school graduates age 18-20 years old reached a high point in the last decade in the year 2010, when the rate was 19.3 percent, meaning nearly one in five high school graduates age 18-20 years old wanted a job but was unable to find one.[3]

 

Among all Iowans, the unemployment rate over the last decade remained below 5 percent, from a low of 3.7 percent in 2006 to a high of 4.6 percent in 2004, until 2009, when the unemployment rate rose to 6.2 percent for the state. It rose to 6.3 percent the following year, in 2010, and then dropped back to 5.9 percent in 2011.[4] The current unemployment rate in Iowa, as of June 2012, is 5.2 percent.[5]

 

Many teen workers are also seeing their hours of work per week reduced. The average number of hours worked per week by teens age 16-19 was 12.5 hours in 2002. The average number of hours worked per week fluctuated between of 10-12 hours through 2008. However, in 2009 the average hours worked per week for teens age 16-19 dropped to 9.4 hours, and continued to drop to 9.3 hours per week in 2010 and 8.1 hours per week in 2011.[6]

 

The same holds true for the average hours worked per week for high school graduates age 18-20. In 2002, the average hours worked per week for those high school graduates was 21.1 hours. The average hours worked per week dropped to 18.3 in 2003, but then remained in the range of 21-22 hours per week from 2004 to 2008. In 2009, the average hours worked per week for high school graduates age 18-20 dropped to 17.3 hours, dropped again in 2010 to 16.4 hours per week, and then rose slightly in 2011 to 16.7 hours per week.[7] (See Table 2.)

 

Table 2. Average Hours Worked Per Week


   

 

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