As part of its continued efforts to provide research and data on issues around youth employment, Great Cities Institute has provided the Alternative Schools Network (ASN) with data for their new report titled, Out of School and Jobless: A Continuing Crisis for Youths in Chicago and Beyond. Similar to previous reports prepared by GCI, the data GCI provided for ASN includes tabulations of 2017 American Community Survey data for jobless and out of school by race/ethnicity and gender for 16 to 19 and 20 to 24 year olds for Chicago, Cook County, Illinois, and the U.S.. Additionally, GCI provided jobless and out of school 2013-2017 ACS tabulations of jobless and out of school figures by race/ethnicity for 16 to 19 and 20 to 24 year olds for four rural county groupings in central, western, and southern Illinois to capture updated data following up from GCI’s most recent state-wide report, Industrial Restructuring and the Continuing Impact on Youth Employment in Illinois. You can access the new data tables that GCI prepared for ASN here.
Key findings from the data provided for the ASN study include:
The jobless and out of school rate for 20 to 24 year old black males had decreased in recent years in Chicago, Cook County, and Illinois, but in 2017, increased back towards 2014 figures.
- In 2014, the jobless and out of school rate for black 20 to 24 year old males was 45.7% in Chicago, 45.5% in Cook County, and 44.7% in Illinois. By 2016, these figured dropped to 36.6% in Chicago, 33.5% in Cook County, and 31.6% in Illinois.
- The jobless and out of school rate drops from 2014 to 2016 amounted to rate reductions of 9.1 percentage points in Chicago, 12.0 in Cook County, and 13.1 in Illinois.
- In 2017, jobless and out of school rates all increased from 2016 rates, with the Chicago rate increasing 8.6 percentage points to 45.2%, the Cook County rate increased 10.6 percentage points to 44.1%, and the Illinois rate increased 7.8 percentage points to 39.4%.
Black females jobless and out of school rate increased slightly in Chicago and much more in Cook County and Illinois from 2016 to 2017.
- From 2016 to 2017, the jobless and out of school rate for black females in Chicago increased .7 percentage points from 29.5% to 30.2%, while in Cook County increased 7.6 percentage points from 23.7% to 31.3%, and in Illinois increased 6 percentage points from 22.1% to 28.1.
- In the U.S., this figure was lower but increased slightly from 19.1% in 2016 to 19.7% in 2017.
After increasing slightly from 2014 to 2016 in Chicago, the out of school and jobless rate for 20 to 24 year old Latinos dropped back to its 2014 figure in 2017.
- In 2014, the out of school and jobless rate for 20 to 24 year old Latinos in Chicago was 18.2%, which increased to 20.8% in 2015 and 21.2% in 2016. The 2017 rate decreased back to the 2014 level of 18.2%.
- Comparatively, the rate in the U.S. fell slightly each year from 2014 to 2017, from 19.8% in 2014 to 17.1% in 2017.
The gap in the jobless and out of school rate for 20 to 24 year old males between white and Latino, and white and black are more extreme in Chicago than in Cook County, Illinois, and the U.S..
- In Chicago, 45.2% of black 20 to 24 year old males were out of work and out of school compared to just 7.4% of white 20 to 24 year old males. This 37.7 percentage point gap between black and white males is slightly larger than the gap in Cook County (35.2 percentage points), larger than the gap in Illinois (27.7), and much larger than the gap in the U.S. (15.2).
- In Chicago, 18.3% of Latino males were out of school and out of work, making the gap between jobless and out of school rates between Latino and white males 10.9 percentage points, larger compared to the gap in Cook County (6.9 percentage points), Illinois (1.4), and the U.S. (3.2).
For black 20 to 24 year olds males, Chicago still has a much larger jobless and out of school rate than the U.S., and Cook County and Illinois remain not much better.
- Compared to Chicago’s jobless and out of school rate for black 20 to 24 year olds males of 45.2%, Cook County’s rate of 44.1%, and Illinois’s of 39.4% show that conditions in Illinois beyond Chicago are not much better.
- The rates in Chicago, Cook County, and Illinois show a stark comparative disadvantage for black 20 to 24 year old males in these areas compared to the rate in the U.S. of 27.6%. While the rate is better in the U.S., it’s important to emphasize that this is still a disproportionately high and unacceptable percentage.
While black and white males have higher jobless and out of school rates than females, this is not true for Latinos and Latinas
- In Chicago, 16 to 19 year old Latinas (6.6%) have higher jobless and out of school rates than Latinos (5.6%) and for 20 to 24 year olds, they are virtually the same, 18.2% for Latinas and 18.3% for Latinos. Comparatively, black 20 to 24 year old males have a 15 percentage point higher rate than black females and white males have a 3.3 percentage point higher rate than males.
- 20 to 24 year old Latinas have jobless and out of school rates of 18.7% in Cook County, 15.0% in Illinois and 18.8% in the U.S., all higher rates in the respective areas than for Latinos which were 15.8% in Cook County, 13.6% in Illinois, and 15.6% in the U.S..
As we reflect on the slight improvement and worsening of some of these figures, and the stark inequality these figures show, we are reminded of the deeply engrained and structural nature of this issue that is the culmination of an eroding welfare-state and result of an economy that reflects systemic discrimination and is unsuccessful in providing work for all of those that seek it. As ongoing economic restructuring has ushered in an exclusive ‘new economy’ characterized by high-wage educationally-intensive service sector work on one end and low-wage work with limited prospects for upward mobility on the other, we see how young people of color and the neighborhoods they reside in are disproportionately lacking access to meaningful dignified work, if any at all.
We hope that these new figures continue to convey the urgency of addressing the crisis of chronic and concentrated joblessness among black and brown youth in Chicago, Cook County, and Illinois. We continue to work with others in expanding opportunities for education and training, employment, and entrepreneurship.
Click here for links to previous Great Cities Institute reports on joblessness among young people.