March 7th 2016 - Written by: Suzan Reagan

Youth have higher unemployment rates – Local area demographic data by employment status

Youth tend to have a much higher unemployment rate then other age groups. In New Mexico, the overall unemployment rate was 9.6 percent, but from the Census Bureau’s 2014 American Community Survey (ACS), 5 year estimates for 16 to 19 years old was 39.3 percent and 20 to 24 years old was 15.7 percent. In the United States, youth are also seen to have higher unemployment rates than other age groups with 16 to 19 years old at 27.1 percent and 20 to 24 years old at 15.3 percent. New Mexico’s youth aged 16 to 19 years at a 39.3 percent annual unemployment rate for 2014 from ACS is significantly higher than the the 27.1 percent seen nationally. The numbers show that many youths both in New Mexico and across the nation have a difficult time obtaining employment.


Source: US Census Bureau American Community Survey, Table S2301 EMPLOYMENT STATUS for New Mexico

Many local communities in New Mexico have very high unemployment rates for youth. The 2014 ACS 5 year unemployment rate estimates for New Mexico places shows that out of 444 places 60 of them have unemployment rates for youth 16 to 19 years old higher than 50 percent. Excluding places with zero unemployment rates, which account for 71 places, only seven places had less than 10 percent unemployment rates for these youth. Those places are Los Alamos (3.7%), Belen City (3.5%),Placitas CDP (4.5%), Flora Vista CDP (5.1%), Raton city (5.1%), Corrales village (5.7%), and Questa village (8.5%). When looking at unemployment rates for youth it might also be reasonable to look at the labor force participation for a fuller picture of there employment situation.

Generally, the employment situation of the population is pulled from the long-running data series produced by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Local Area Unemployment Statistics program, which includes information on the civilian labor force, employment, unemployment, and unemployment rate. Often times local governments and organizations need more details to determine the effects of employment trends in local areas such as towns, and on different populations such as youth — as examined here — or minorities. The BLS does publish some demographic information from its data programs at the statewide level. But for small areas, this information is available from the US Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (ACS). There are some notable differences between the two series. In the BLS program, which is reported monthly, the unemployed includes those people who were looking for a job in the last 4 weeks. In the ACS program, the data is collected monthly but reported annually, and the unemployed includes those people who were looking for a job in the last year. The ACS data will often have a higher unemployment rate and is not as timely; however, it is more detailed for specific places. More information on the ACS including methodology and sample size are available on the ACS section of the Census Bureau’s website.

For anyone needing assistance navigating the Census website to specific data series, BBER Data Bank (277-6626) is happy to provide that service.

The Bureau of Business & Economic Research employs a diverse staff with a wide range of specializations and interests. The views and opinions expressed on this blog belong to the individual authors alone, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of BBER or UNM.

  ACS, Census, Employment