Youth Employment in the Seventies: The Changing Circumstances of Young Adults
NBER Working Paper No. 1055
This paper examines the changing employment patterns for young men and women aged 16 to 24 over the 1970s and pays particular attention to the widening racial differences. Between 1970 and 1980 employment rates for both black men and women in this age range fell roughly 14 points relative to those of whites. Macroeconomic conditions, the reduction in the size of the military, changing schooling patterns,family structure, fertility patterns, and several public policies, are all examined in an attempt to understand the patterns of the seventies.The conclusion reached is that perhaps one-half of the diverging racial employment patterns can be "explained" by the variables we examine. For young men the most important forces appear to be the changing structure of the military, worsening macroeconomic conditions,and increased school enrollment among blacks. For women, the military is less important, of course, but shifts in family structure and fertility are rather important.
Published: Nelson, R. and F. Skidmore (eds.) American Families and the Economy: The High Costs of Living. Washington D.C.: National Academy Press, 1983.