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The Psychological and Social Effects of Youth Unemployment

Saul V. Levine

Youth unemployment is not a new problem but its extent, and the way it will not go away, are new. Economic downturns affect young people disproportionately: they are unemployed, or the last hired and the first laid off, and when working they are given the least rewarding jobs, financially and meaningfully. In addition, advanced technology, plus union preference for retraining older workers, has made the youngest workers the most expendable.
While there are many economic and statistical ways to measure the extent of youth unemployment, there is very little data, in human terns, on the effects on youths of their inability to find work. Our society espouses individuality, achievement, competition and materialism yet cannot provide meaningful work for many of its young adult citizens. An examination of the effects of such a social mess has hardly begun.

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