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A widening disconnect?

Disconnected youth in America since the Great Recession

In Sierra County, California, more than 57% of 16- to 19-year-olds were neither enrolled in school, employed, nor actively looking for a job in 2015. In Nemaha County, Kansas, that figure was less than 0.17%. Outside both the labor force and the education system, these teens are known as “disconnected youth,” and this measure has gained increasing attention in recent years: The ranks of disconnected youth rose during the Great Recession, given that the percentage of disconnected youth is closely tied to local economic and social conditions. FRED has county-level data for the percentages of 16- to 19 year-olds considered disconnected from 2009 to 2015.

The maps show the percent change in disconnected youth in 2015 and in 2010. The map for 2010 shows more red, and the map for 2015 shows more blue, which indicates the percentages increased markedly in many more counties in 2010 than 2015, likely due to the residual effects of the Great Recession. According to the Measure of America, youth disconnection tends to increase along with poverty and adult disconnection—both of which were characteristic in the high-unemployment, low-output environment of 2007-09. High ratios of disconnected youth can have devastating effects on both individuals and the overall economy: Without a work or school environment, many 16- to 19-year-olds lack mentorship, resources, and engagement. In addition, fewer workers in the labor force combined with lower tax revenues and higher strains on social assistance programs can decrease the economic potential of counties and states.

The more recent data show decreases in disconnected youth in many Western counties, especially in Idaho and Utah. However, much of Georgia and Texas saw increases in disconnected youth, some up to 23%. Overall, the picture looks better in 2015 than in 2010. The average percent change in disconnected youth in 2015 was -0.31%, compared with a rise of 0.18% in 2010. This shift from an average rise to an average decline in disconnected youth is statistically significant; however, the averages are not adjusted for county populations (values corresponding to large and small counties carried the same weight) and the slight increase does not necessarily reflect a continuing trend.

Like many economic indicators, the proportion of disconnected youth has improved slightly since the Great Recession, yet still has a long way to go.

How these maps were created: In GeoFRED, click “Build New Map.” In the Tools menu, change the region type to “County” and search for “disconnected youth” in the data menu. Change the units to “Change, Percent.” In “Edit Legend,” change the number of color classes to six and adjust accordingly. To create the second map, follow these same steps, but change the date to 2010.

Suggested by Maria Hyrc.

‘Tis the season for adjustment

What difference does seasonality make in the unemployment rate over time?

If you’ve spent time graphing in FRED, you’ve run across the term “seasonally adjusted.” Seasonal adjustment uses mathematical algorithms to adjust data for predictable seasonal variations using the changes between new observations and those from a year prior. When analyzing long-term trends in data such as unemployment, which tends to increase in January and June, seasonal adjustment helps economists see the cyclical trends underlying month-to-month patterns caused by school schedules, holidays, harvests, and a plethora of other factors. For more information on seasonal adjustment, see this explanation from the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.

The difference between the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate and the original is presented in the top graph, where subtracting the raw data from the adjusted data shows the impact of seasonality on the data over time. Overall, seasonal adjustment made a bigger difference in the unemployment rate in the 1950s than it has in the past several decades because of the recent trend toward year-round employment. The distribution of workers across various industries has shifted significantly over the past 60 years, and different industries are subject to varying degrees of seasonal variation.

The graph below shows the overall declines of employment in two U.S. industries: Agriculture, which hires more workers during harvest seasons, employed 4.4% of workers in 1970 but only 1.2% in 2012. Likewise, manufacturing employment has declined by 16.1% over the same span of time and also employs workers based on seasonal factors and fluctuating production needs. By contrast, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that, between 1939 and 2015, employment in the private education and health services sector, known as the least cyclical sector in the economy, grew from 4.6% to 15.6% of all nonfarm jobs. Other sectors that have grown in employment share include retail trade and financial activities, which employ most workers year-round and thus do not contribute to seasonal variation as much as the industries that have declined.

How these graphs were created: For the first graph, search for “monthly unemployment rate U.S.” and select the seasonally adjusted series. Click “Add to Graph.” Under “Edit line 1,” add another series by searching for “monthly unemployment rate U.S.” again and selecting the not seasonally adjusted data. Click “Add.” In the formula tab, enter a-b and click “Apply.” For the second graph, search for “percent unemployment in agriculture” and select the relevant series. Click “Add Line” in the “Edit Graph” page and search for “percent unemployment in manufacturing” and select the relevant series.

Suggested by Maria Hyrc.

View on FRED, series used in this post: UNRATE, UNRATENSA, USAPEFANA, USAPEMANA

Reflections on net migration

The (almost) mirror image behavior of net migration for the United States and Mexico

Some people move in, and some people move out. The difference, for each country, is its net migration. This FRED graph shows the 5-year estimates of net migration for the U.S. (solid line) and Mexico (dashed line), which include both citizens and noncitizens. Notice anything about the pattern? Net migration for the U.S. increased steadily from the mid-1960s to its peak in 1997: The largest increase was between 1992 and 1997, when it started to decrease. Net migration for Mexico is the mirror image of net migration for the U.S., albeit with some lags.

During the period 1962-2012, there were more immigrants coming into the U.S. than emigrants leaving the U.S. for other countries: i.e., positive net migration for the U.S. Moreover, during this period, U.S. net migration increased (i.e., more people immigrating to the U.S. and/or less people leaving the U.S.): It was around 959,000 people in 1962 and around 4.6 million people in 1992. In those 30 years, net migration experienced an annual increase of 5.3% per year. Between 1992 to 1997, however, the annual growth was more than twice as large, around 13%.

In Mexico, net migration was negative during 1962-2012, with more people leaving Mexico than migrating into Mexico. The evolution of Mexico’s net migration has behaved as the (almost) mirror image as that for the U.S. In Mexico, there was a steady decrease in net migration between the mid-1960s to the 2000s—the biggest drop during the 1990s—and it started recovering after 2000. However, as of 2012, net migration from Mexico was still below the value of 1962.

Most immigrants arriving in the U.S. come from Mexico, so it’s not surprising that the trends in net migration for those two countries behave similarly. A new analysis by the Pew Hispanic Center has documented a sharp decrease in net migration flow from Mexico to the U.S. As a result, net migration from Mexico has fallen to almost zero in 2011. This change has been partly driven by weaker job and housing markets in the U.S. in 2010, together with stronger border adjustment.

However, the timing of changes in net migration for Mexico and the U.S. was not exactly identical. U.S. net migration started increasing before Mexican net migration started recovering. During the 1990s, there was a sharp increase of immigrants from Asia into the U.S. Indeed, according to the Pew Research Center Projections, the share of Asians among total immigrants to the U.S. has been rising above the share of Hispanic immigrants and that is expected to increase further.

How this graph was created: Search for “Net migration for the United States,” and click on the series you want to create the first line. To add line 2 to the existing graph, click “Edit Graph” and use the “Add Line” tab to search “Net migration for Mexico.” Finally, use the “Format” tab within “Edit Graph” and select “Dash” under Line 2 line style.

Suggested by Ana Maria Santacreu.

View on FRED, series used in this post: SMPOPNETMMEX, SMPOPNETMUSA


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