Study suggests 90,000 Cook County youth out of school and jobless

CHICAGO — A new report by the Great Cities Institute at the University of Illinois at Chicago finds almost one-fifth of young adults in Cook County are out of school and can’t get work.

The report suggests that the percentage of young people in Chicago and Cook County who aren’t in school or working are slowly decreasing in recent years after the recession. But in 2015, 90,000 young people between the ages of 16 and 24 remained out of work and out of school. The report found that the employment conditions in Chicago were far worse than the the rest of the state and the nation.

Black and Latino communities were most negatively impacted by the recession and Latinos are the only group for whom joblessness has gotten worse. More than one-third of black youth aren’t working, in fact, the study suggests that black youth between the ages of 20 to 24 were worse off in 2015 than in 1960.

The study states that joblessness is systemic and is tied to the flight of industry in certain neighborhoods in Chicago. When manufacturing jobs left the city, new jobs opened up in the central core of the city, where whites are employed in professional or related jobs. So while job openings exist, they’re not where the job seekers live; and commuting expenses eat up much of that job income, especially for workers in minimum-wage jobs.

The extensive report highlights in detail the downward and long-term trend of joblessness in Chicago, which is found to be concentrated and chronic joblessness, affecting generations of certain neighborhoods and communities. The neighborhoods with the highest rates of joblessness are also the ones with the highest rates of violence. The report suggest solutions and pathways to progress, stating that solving the endemic jobless could positively impact crime rates.

For the full report click here.