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The Idleness Rate - 4/29/16

The official unemployment rate in the US is five percent.  But when many people hear that statistic, they drift toward skepticism.  There are probably many reasons for this, but one relates to the fact that we can all observe much idleness in the America, including among the young. 

According to a new report from the Economic Policy Institute, approximately one out of every six recent high school graduates received a diploma and then went on to do nothing.  In other words, they graduated, but instead of enrolling in college or working, they aren’t doing anything like that. 

Some refer to this as the idleness rate, and at sixteen percent, it means that there are one point four million people between the ages of seventeen and twenty out there who have yet to begin to take a step on the nation’s economic ladder. 

As reported by the Wall Street Journal, the number of idled young was also elevated after the 1990-91 recession and expanded during the two thousand and one recession.  But idleness fell during the subsequent economic recoveries. 

This time around, idleness remains elevated, particularly among young men.  Idleness among young male high school graduates has been higher for the past six years than it was during any single month during the previous two recessions.  

Anirban Basu, Chariman Chief Executive Officer of Sage Policy Group (SPG), is one of the Mid-Atlantic region's leading economic consultants. Prior to founding SPG he was Chairman and CEO of Optimal Solutions Group, a company he co-founded and which continues to operate. Anirban has also served as Director of Applied Economics and Senior Economist for RESI, where he used his extensive knowledge of the Mid-Atlantic region to support numerous clients in their strategic decision-making processes. Clients have included the Maryland Department of Transportation, St. Paul Companies, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra Players Committee and the Martin O'Malley mayoral campaign.