Unemployment in the entire country has been shaky at best, and in the Northeast the story is the same for all demographics seeking employment. Massachusetts' hardest hit group for unemployment have been those between the ages of 16 and 24.
A report by the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center states that unemployment numbers for Massachusetts residents between the ages of 16 and 24 have doubled since 2000, from 6.7 percent to 13.8 percent, bringing the number of employed young people to its lowest level since World War II. This does not include people who are full-time students without employment.
In 2000, 59 percent of young people held jobs in the Bay State. That number plummeted to 46 percent in 2011, according to a study by the Annie E. Casey Foundation , a nonprofit focused on helping children.
The Casey study, based on data from the US Census Bureau, indicates that around the country, 26 percent of those between 16 and 19 held jobs in 2011, compared with 46 percent in 2000.
Patrice Cromwell, director of economic development at the Casey Foundation, has stated the new “crisis point" we have reached with unemployment and the need for more action by the government to stem the costs of unemployment. Noah Berger, president of the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, agreed, stating that the federal government cannot resort to its economic playbooks and continue to cut financial support for state initiatives like job training for high school students. This is something that has already been put on the table in the most recent fiscal cliff talks.
Those between the ages of 18 and 34, millennials as many economists call them, take the biggest hit with the new American economy. The "path to prosperity" has been completely rewritten, making them the first generation expected to fare worse financially than their parents.
That is why many young people are deciding to risk it all and take their financial futures in their own hands. In the last year, there has been a sturdy uptick in entrepreneurial activity among the young - up to age 34. In an effort to avoid typical means of employment and avoid the struggles of joblessness, young people are looking to make a way for themselves.
But despite that 2011 uptick, millenials' share of the new business pie has actually shrunk since 1996, according to a study by University of California economist Robert Fairlie for the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation in California. His statistics are buttressed by similar ones from the U.S. Small Business Administration.
In a report from Babson College in Wellesley, Mass. 16 percent of all young people ages 18 to 24 intend to start a business. But only 2.4 percent of the people in that age group actually succeed in carrying it out. Many believe that the weight of student loans and shrinking space for less-technical businesses is a large factor in determining the eventual success of entrepreneurial efforts among the young.