A new report shows teen employment decreased during the recession in Tucson.

The number of teens with jobs dropped 17 percentage points between 2000 and 2012. By then, 26 percent of local teens had jobs in 2012.

The Brookings Institution looked at teen employment in the 100 largest metro areas in the country during the recession.

“Teens and those in their early 20s are very sensitive to economic downturns so they have been disproportionately affected,” said Martha Ross, who was one of the report’s authors and a researcher for the Brookings Metropolitan Policy program.

Measuring employment among teens and adults younger than 25 years old means calculating what the report calls "disconnected youth," she said.

“These are young people who are off track, they’re off track educationally and they’re off track in the labor market," Ross said.

If a teen is not working, and is also not enrolled in school, he or she has an increased risk of living in poverty in the future.

“We were hearing a lot about how they were struggling in the labor market and this is a key milestone in a person’s life, getting and keeping a job and supporting yourself," she said. "The research shows that if you get off to a rough start then that can have a negative impact on you for years to come in your career, which is not to say that it’s destiny, but it’s a pretty important topic.”

That means employers and educators could offer more work experience, such as internships to give teens and young adults the best chance at finding a job.

“Those people who had higher levels of education and who had work experience fared much better in the labor market," she said.