Andrew Sum, director of the Center for Labor Market Studies at North­eastern Uni­ver­sity, said those without a col­lege degree are having dif­fi­culty finding employ­ment because they are being dis­placed by recent col­lege grad­u­ates who haven’t been able to find jobs in their fields. Last year, he said, there were more young workers with a bachelor’s degree working in the food ser­vice industry than those in sci­ence careers such as biology and physics.

Eco­nomic mobility has broken down in America,” Sum said.

In June, the U.S. unem­ploy­ment rate for teens was 24 per­cent, double what the figure was in 2000.

Sum said that it will be harder for today’s teens to become part of tomorrow’s middle-​​class workers because they are not learning the soft skills needed to move up the pay scale. He said good-​​paying jobs need to be cre­ated and appren­tice­ship pro­grams need to be rebuilt.

I don’t see, polit­i­cally, any lead­er­ship to do these kinds of things,” Sum said.

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