Washington area employment officials yesterday said they have no idea how local teenagers are faring in the job market.
Officials for the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia said they don't keep month-to-month figures on youth unemployment. Although summer job programs for teenagers have started in local jurisdictions, many officials said it is too early to tell how many youths were employed or still unemployed and general unemployment figures for June will not be available until about August. Figures for youth unemployment will not be available until next year, the government officials said.
The lack of unemployment information was disclosed yesterday in interviews with a dozen local officials after national seasonally adjusted statistics were released by the U.S. Department of Labor. Those numbers indicated that teenaged unemployment was not as high as expected nationally.
"My impression is they're not doing very well," said Oliver Brown, coordinator or summer youth employment in Montgomery County, "Private employers are much more reluctant to hire a kid. There are adults taking kids' jobs."
When told that the national teen unemployment figure dropped, Brown said, "Oh. Well, I'd be surprised if it continued to drop . . . There are a lot more kids on the street this summer."
Brown said about 25 percent of jobs promised to youths by local business people never materialized. Through his office about 550 youths were employed in the county for summer jobs as opposed to 850 last year, Brown said
The latest figures available for Northern Virginia youth unemployment are from last September, according to the Virginia Employment Commission office in Alexandria. Maryland state officials said they only have projections for 1980 annual unemployment and have no projections or figures for 1979.
Major Marion Barry's plans for finding jobs for 30,000 youths this summer were not even based on youth unemployment figures, according to city officials. Because statistics were not available, Barry pledged, 30,000 jobs based on the number of applicants for summer jobs last year, according to Adolph Slaughter, information director for the D.C. Department of Labor.
"It's too early to tell now" how many youths have been hired, Slaughter said. "Even 30,000 would not be the correct indication of the numbers looking for jobs. You've got over 50,000 younsters in D.C. alone. Some of them will get jobs on their own."
No statistics on those hired through the Department of Labor will be available until about September, and unemployment figures will be available next year, Slaughter said. "When you talk about teenagers, ages 16 through 19, they become a part of unemployment figures and are treated as adults," Slaughter said.
"On a continuing basis, we don't keep youth unemployment figures," said Rufus Daniels, a labor econimist for the D.C. labor department. "If an agency needs it on a proportional basis, we do make that."
Neither the Washington Metropolitan Council of Governments or the Washington Metropolitan Board of Trade keep current youth unemployment figures, spokesmen for those groups said.
Teenaged unemployment nationally, on a seasonally adjusted basis, dropped from 16.8 percent in May to 15.3 percent in June, according to U.S. Department of Labor statistics. Teenagers are defined as those ages 16 through 19.
The civilian labor force for the age group was 9.4 million in May and 9.5 million last month. In May, 1.6 million teens were employed compared to 1.5 million last month, the labor department said.