In Galesburg, few signs of a U.S. recovery taking hold

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.