Report: Half of young Americans unemployed in 2011

Posted at 11:06 PM, Dec 03, 2012
and last updated 2012-12-04 01:08:49-05

A report published Monday by the Annie E. Casey Foundation shows that half of young Americans between the ages of 16 and 24 were unemployed in 2011.

Rikyla Shilts of Taylorsville told FOX 13 News that she has been looking for employment for a month.

"It's just honestly kind of a vicious job market," Shilts said.

In 2000, 70 percent of 16 to 24-year-olds in Utah were employed. In 2011, that number fell to 56 percent.

The recession has been pushing older, more experienced workers into low-paying jobs at fast food restaurants and entry-level retail positions, a trend which some say is partially responsible for higher unemployment rates among young adults.

"Adults are taking those jobs that used to be [the jobs] those young adults were taking," said Terry Haven, Deputy Director of Voices for Utah Children. "They really are more apt to be unemployed as adults and they're more apt to not really reach their full potential in terms of where they could go in their career path that they choose."

Shilts said perpetually searching for work can be very depressing and she sometimes loses her motivation.

"But if you give up, you're just letting your life go," Shilts said.