There are a multitude of reasons why members of the general population are outside of the civilian labor force. Some of these reasons are desirable, such as early retirement, while others are unavoidable, such as long-term illness or caring for others. However, the proportion of the population who are unemployed so long they lose hope or the desire to continue searching for a job is of great concern to policymakers. This phenomenon has prompted economists and concerned members of the public to raise awareness that the long-term unemployment rate in the United States is actually higher than government statistics suggest.
Like many countries around the world, the United States is struggling with youth unemployment rates higher than the national unemployment rate. In August 2020, the unemployment rate for those aged 16 to 24 was 14.7 percent. In contrast, the national figure in the same month was 8.4 percent. These rates can partially explain why 35 percent of millennials considered the economy and employment the most important issue for the next president prior to the 2016 U.S. elections.
Looking to the future, young people may look towards training in industries where job numbers are projected to increase. The 20 industries with the largest expected employment growth from 2014 to 2024 suggests that construction and health care might be the way to go. Following similar logic, it may be the time for some people to reconsider their dream career in the U.S. Postal Service.