Industrial Restructuring and the Continuing Impact on Youth Employment in Illinois

Authors
Matthew D. Wilson
Teresa L. Córdova, Ph.D.

Abstract

Since 2016, the Great Cities Institute (GCI) has produced a series of reports for the Alternative Schools Network that have documented employment and related challenges that young people face. These reports have primarily focused on Chicago and Cook County with comparisons to similar sized cities, counties, Illinois, and the U.S. In 2017, GCI’s report, Abandoned in their Neighborhoods: Youth Joblessness amidst the Flight of Industry and Opportunity focused on changes in the Chicago economy that have impacted the economic circumstances of young people. Factors such as industrial restructuring, the movement of jobs from neighborhoods, and the impact of the Great Recession help explain present declining employment of young people.

We now turn our focus to analyze employment conditions for young people in areas throughout the state of Illinois. This report is unique in that it provides a more detailed view of youth jobless and jobless and out of school data throughout the state of Illinois than what has been analyzed to date and has findings that have implications for the direction of future policy aimed at improving employment conditions for young people in Illinois and the economy more broadly.

This report Industrial Restructuring and the Continuing Impact on Youth Employment in Illinois, also commissioned by the Alternative Schools Network, updates the following figures: out of work; out of school and out of work; and out of school and out of work with no high school diploma figures for Chicago, Cook County, Illinois, and the U.S. and examines out of work; and out of school and out of work figures in subsections of Illinois. Additionally, data from four Illinois counties are examined as case studies to observe economic transformations in the sectors of the economy in these counties over time, young people’s position in the economy, and the growing poverty in these areas since 1980.

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