Unemployment high for young adults in Los Angeles County


Evan Fryberger, 19, of Burbank, just found work as a fundraiser for a children's charity. The job only pays $8 an hour, but Fryberger says he's just happy he's able to pay his bills.

"There's a lot of competition out there right now. There are many people just striving to get the jobs and you got to beat them in order to get it. It's really hard, honestly," said Fryberger.

The latest survey by the U.S. Census Bureau backs that up. The numbers are based on last year's stats, but while it shows the overall unemployment rate in Los Angeles County at 11.6 percent, unemployment for those 20 to 24 years old is 19.2 percent. It's even worse for the 16 to 19 age group, with 41.1 percent of those looking for work not being able to find it.

"Unemployment is particularly severe among young people," said Robert Kleinhenz, chief economist for the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation.

Kleinhenz points out that the unemployment numbers have improved this year, but says during the recession, companies eliminated many of the jobs that cater to younger workers.

Young adults aren't just competing with each other; economists say a new demographic is competing for those same jobs.

"There are a lot of older workers who lost their jobs during the recession, but they have experience. They might have other attributes that give them a leg up," said Kleinhenz.

To get young adults back on track, the LAEDC consults with local community colleges, so they can specifically train students for the jobs being created locally.

Meanwhile, young people we talked to say finding a job isn't as hard as some say it is.

"If you show interest and if you keep bothering them, keep letting them know that you really want to work there, they'll call you back," said Dakota Schambach, who found a new job.

Ellery Burnett of Koreatown says you have to be proactive.

"Somebody's hiring. You just got to go out there and look for it," said Burnett.

Kleinhenz says the more education you have, the more successful your job hunting will be.

"The jobs that only require a strong back, if you will, are really fewer and farther between," said Kleinhenz.

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