The Bureau of Labor Statistics defined “unemployed” youth as those who have actively sought employment during the last four weeks and currently are available to work. This definition does not include youth enrolled in job training programs or other “passive” methods of connecting with potential employers, such as reading job listings. This number does not capture “disconnected” or Opportunity Youth who are both unemployed and out of school.
The number of 16- to 24-year-olds who are unemployed jumped following the recession and has descended since that time even though there was a slight increase to 14.3% from 2015 to 2016 in Maryland. There are many reasons why young people are failing to enter Maryland’s adult workforce, including skills mismatch between the skills that employers want and the skills that youth have, stiff competition with more experienced adults for entry-level or unskilled jobs, and individual barriers such as lack of high school diploma or GED, caring for young children, transitioning from systems, lack of transportation, or substance use, to name just a few. The changing nature of the workforce has rapidly eliminated unskilled jobs; jobs that did not require a high school diploma will decrease from 72% in 1973 to an estimated 37% in 2018.
 Maryland Economic Development and Business Climate Commission. 2014 Interim Report. February 2015.