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For American youth, Labor Day report paints an even worse jobs picture

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Instead, after being turned down for every job application, he and a friend made up a few dozen business cards, handed them out around their San Fernando Valley neighborhood, “and we did just about anything anyone would pay us to do.”

He washed windows, carried boxes from basements, and trimmed trees. In the end, he netted around $500, “not enough to buy anything, so I had my loafers re-soled instead of buying new shoes.”

An increasing number of students are simply dropping out, says Max Wolff, who teaches in the graduate program for International Affairs at the New School University in Manhattan.

“Schools are seeing more of what they call shrinkage,” he says, meaning students who committed to attend classes but for a variety of reasons, “simply don’t show up.”

Many of these are students who were unable to earn the money they needed for school, points out Mr. Wolff. “This economy and particularly its impact on the kinds of jobs this age group would take are constricting and pushing down the job and career prospects for an entire generation,” he adds.

Jonathan Wright, a senior at Villanova University, says he was willing to work for free if it would give him valuable experience for his career choice. But even that market was out of reach.

“I applied for about 30 different internships for this past summer, and I received only one call-back for an interview” and “did not get past the interviewing process,” he writes in an email. He adds that his lack of experience from having not had an internship, “could seriously hurt me when I start looking for a real job in the coming months.”

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