The unemployment story is getting better recently — for all age groups. That’s to say, the unemployment rates are lower across the board. But they aren’t better equally for everyone. Rates are highest for the 16 to 24 age group, which were up to 20 percent nationally at the height of the recession and remain near 9 percent.

And with this age group, things are way more complex. Persons 16 to 24 obviously are often in school (either high school or college), as well as either working (employed) or looking for work (unemployed). But if someone falls in none of those categories, they are isolated, a little “lost” in fact — economically and perhaps even sociologically speaking.

The broad term typically applied to this subgroup is disconnected youth” (DY). These young people are part of the leading edge of our future workforce, so for them providing opportunities is particularly critical. Some examples of great data documenting the DY issue follows:

For a deeper and very recent look at subgroups within that 16-24 DY grouping, check out what Brookings Institute has to offer here , or click on the image below.

So the problem is real and the stakes are high! Fortunately, a lot of great initiatives are out there statewide and locally to address it.

Check out just a few of them below: