WV KIDS COUNT is saying 40 percent of West Virginians ages 16 to 24 held a job in 2011, down from 53 percent in 2000.

The survey means there were about 56,000 teens and young adults in the state who were neither in school nor at work.

About 50 percent of young people nationally were employed in 2011, compared to 60 percent in 2000.

KIDS COUNT says these young people face growing competition from older workers for entry-level jobs and they also don't have the skills required for available well-paying jobs.

Politicians rarely mention that tens of thousands of low-paying or entry level jobs have left West Virginia through globalization.

Young people are missing the chance to increase their job readiness by not holding "starter jobs," KIDS COUNT says. "All young people need opportunities to gain work experience and build the skills that are essential to being successful as an adult," Patrick McCarthy, said president and CEO of the foundation.

"Ensuring youth are prepared for the high-skilled jobs available in today's economy must be a national priority, for the sake of their future roles as citizens and parents, the future of our work force and the strength of our nation as a whole." The report also found that more than 20 percent, or 1.4 million of the USA unemployed youths, had children of their own.

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