Although teen employment numbers have been falling since 2000, the job market for those ages 16 to 19 looks bleaker than ever this year, particularly for teenagers from low-income families.

“We are truly in a labor market depression for teens,” said Andrew Sum, director of the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University. “More than others, teens are frequently off the radar screens of the nation’s and states’ economic policy makers.”

As teens don’t file unemployment, it can be difficult for policymakers to assess the situation at any given time. The picture only came together for Northeastern University researchers after an analysis of Census Bureau data over a period spanning several decades.