Press Release

New Analysis Shows Declines in New York City’s Out-of-School, Out-of-Work Young Adult Population

Contact: Jeff Maclin

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Contact: Marjorie D. Parker


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Numbers remain high, but data shows that re-engagement efforts may be making a difference

New data released today by JobsFirstNYC shows marked declines in the number and share of young adults in New York City who are out of school and out of work (OSOW).  Sometimes also referred to as “disconnected youth” or “opportunity youth,” this population grew dramatically during the Recession, and has only recently returned to levels not seen since the middle of the last decade.

In 2010, nearly 188,000 New Yorkers between the ages of 18 through 24 were neither in school, nor working, 22 percent of that age group overall.  According to the new data, by the end of 2015, that number had dropped to less than 137,000, 17 percent of the age group.  The higher rates of connected young people appear due to both increases in employment, as well as school enrollment.

This publication, led and commissioned by JobsFirstNYC and conducted by researchers at the Community Service Society of New York (CSS), is an initial analysis of new data through the end of 2015.  The document compares data from 2005, 2010, and 2015, to examine labor force and school enrollment trends across the past decade.  JobsFirstNYC and CSS will be releasing a more comprehensive study about these changes to the OSOW population later this year.

Despite notable drops in out-of-school, out-of-work youth citywide, some neighborhoods still show extremely high rates of young adult disconnection.  In the Mott Haven/Hunts Point section of the Bronx, 37 percent of young adults are neither in school, nor working; in Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, the rate is nearly 30 percent.

David R. Jones, CSS President and CEO, said: “We are pleased to see the declines in the numbers of young adults who are being left behind. But 136,000 disconnected youth – more than the population of Hartford, Connecticut – is still too many young people being left behind. It’s clear that more work needs to be done.”

But the early statistics from 2015 do show improvements.  “We are finally seeing some movement in re-engaging young people to school and work,” remarked Lou Miceli, Executive Director of JobsFirstNYC.  “It’s clear that policies and programs matter, so let’s use these data to continue to ramp up our efforts to serve these young people.”  JobsFirstNYC is a leader among a series of public and private initiatives devoted to reducing the out-of-school, out-of-work young adult population.

There are various causes for the drop in OSOW numbers, which JobsFirstNYC and CSS will continue to explore in a more in-depth study of the dynamics behind these initial data.  According to the lead researcher of this analysis, Lazar Treschan, Director of Youth Policy at CSS: “It’s clear that the improving economy is helping young people get jobs.  But we are also seeing higher rates of school enrollment and training, at all levels.  We are excited to continue exploring these trends, and learning how we can help keep the City moving in the right direction.”

“These numbers confirm for us that young adult disconnection is not an intractable problem, but rather one that the public and private sector can address,” remarked Marjorie Parker, Deputy Executive Director of JobsFirstNYC.  “Our forthcoming follow-up study will provide more detail about these trends, and how we can see even greater reductions in the out-of-school, out-of-work population moving forward.  This report will include labor market analysis of the employment trends and opportunities for young New Yorkers.”

The Community Service Society of New York (CSS) is an informed, independent, and unwavering voice for positive action on behalf of more than 3 million low-income New Yorkers. CSS draws on a 170-year history of excellence in addressing the root causes of economic disparity through research, advocacy, litigation, and innovative program models that strengthen and benefit all New Yorkers.

JobsFirstNYC is an intermediary organization with the mission to bring together available community, corporate, private, and public resources to accelerate the connection of out-of-school, out-of-work young adults with the economic life of New York City. 

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