Hillary Has Some Good Ideas for Boosting Youth Employment. Here’s What Else She Can Do.

By Lauren Pescatore

Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton unveiled a plan Wednesday to provide tax credits for businesses as an incentive for training and hiring new workers. While Clinton made clear that the credits are meant to encourage businesses to hire workers of all ages, the former senator and Secretary of State emphasized that these credits would boost youth employment rates in particular.

Employment rates for younger workers are indeed low. Contrary to the popular assumption that millennials are handed everything on a silver platter, poverty runs rampant throughout the generation and the unemployment rate of 7.8 percent is more than 2 percent higher than the national average. For young black adults it is nearly double that rate – 14.6 percent. According to Census Bureau data, one in five millennials lives in poverty and the generation as a whole makes less money and has lower rates of employment than their parents’ generation.

Thankfully, anti-poverty policies are already in place to help encourage employment and increase earnings for these young workers. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities reports that the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the low-income component of the Child Tax Credit (CTC) encourage and reward work for roughly 14 million millennials.

These credits make a major difference in the economic security of younger workers and their families. However, certain provisions of the credits scheduled to expire at the end of 2017 would cause nearly 6 million millennial recipients to lose all or part of their credit. Additionally, the EITC is only available to workers 25 and older, an age limit that President Obama and other lawmakers are currently seeking to lower.

Presidential hopefuls who want to prevent poverty and boost employment rates for our youngest workers should look to improve the eligibility requirements for these credits and protect key provisions from expiring.

Clinton has announced that she is also seeking a “tax cut to help parents with the cost of raising children,” which sounds promisingly like either an expanded CTC or Child and Dependent Care Credit (CDCTC), or both.

Encouraging businesses to hire younger workers is important. But if Hillary Clinton really wants to prevent youth poverty and increase employment rates among millennials, she should also push for protections and expansion of tax credits for working families, including the EITC, CTC, and CDCTC.