The impact of economic recessions is not felt uniformly across demographic groups, and the detrimental effects of the one-time dislocations can significantly shift the long-term prospects of human development for many years to come. The current recession has been hard on young people in the United States between the ages of 16 and 24, especially minorities (Latino or African American). Labor force participation rates have dropped dramatically and unemployment has reached as high as 30% in some states. Long spells of unemployment and adverse conditions for labor market incorporation further increase the likelihood of other poor life outcomes, such as problems with the legal system, low-wage employment, and little socioeconomic mobility. Preventing such eroding effects requires legislative and programmatic interventions to help youths into positive labor market and education pathways, among them workforce development, enhanced vocational training, and reduction of education costs. The article outlines some of such interventions and programs in Massachusetts and in other countries.



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