‘Great time for young people to find a job,’ Fed governor proclaims

It’s a great time for young people to find a job – particularly those engaged in programs training them in technology –  a member of the Federal Reserve Board told an audience Wednesday.

Gov. Lael Brainard, speaking at an awards ceremony hosted by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and Pathways in Technology Early College High Schools (P-TECH) in the Greater Rochester Area, said that the current “low by historical standards” unemployment rate (of 4.1%) is also low for young people and “members of ethnic and racial groups that have traditionally faced greater challenges in the labor market.”

“As many of you know, during the deep recession of 2008 and 2009, many Americans were so discouraged by poor job prospects that they stopped even looking for work,” Brainard said. “That meant that too many Americans were sitting on the sidelines. In the past few years, the job market has gotten so strong that many of these people have come off the sidelines–and many are now back at work.”

Brainard told the group she often meets with leaders of large companies to get their take on the strength of the economy. “Whereas a few years ago, they might not have been engaged in a lot of hiring, today they tell me that it is becoming more challenging to find well-qualified workers for the job openings they want to fill.”

She said that’s “good news” for students involved in early training programs, which she said “are attuned to the to the job opportunities of employers.”

“I also understand that companies are investing more in on-the-job training and are strengthening efforts to retain more of the workers they attract,” she said, which means younger workers in training programs have a better chance of securing jobs that lead to long-lasting careers.

“By any measure, the market for younger workers today looks much better than it did in the years just after the Great Recession, when unemployment rates for teenagers were above 20%,” she said.

Speech by Governor Brainard on workforce development in today’s economy