- Since 1948, an average 40% of the nation's teenagers participated in the labor force.
- That number dropped to 37% in the mid-1960s, but it reached a high of 48.5% in 1979.
- By 2000, 45% of 16- to 19- year-olds participated in the labor force.
- Then the bottom fell out: In 2013, only 20% of Americans ages 16 to 19 particpated in the workforce. But, for minority teenagers, only 17% of 16- to 19- year-old African Americans were employed.
The article also reports these trends remain steady for summertime employment.
Why the drop? According to the New York Times:
- Many teenagers can't find jobs.
- More students are enrolling in summer school and pre-college programs as well as playing year-round sports.
- Other students put their time towards volunteer work or in unpaid internships with the goal of building their resumes.
There's nothing to disagree with there. It's what the New York Times doesn't report that The Motley Monk thinks is important. That is, when the federal minimum wage is increased, the number of entry-level, low-paying jobs decreases, meaning that youth unemployment increases, generally, and the number of summer ("seasonal") jobs decreases, in particular.
This correlation isn't news, but it is the President's policy. That is, the President advocates policies that hurt the nation's young people, and not just during the summer but as they grow into adulthood. As the New York Times notes, research indicates that teenagers who work in high school have wages 10% to 15% higher than their peers after college graduation.
Those entry-level, low-paying jobs provide the nation's young people important learning experiences. In this regard, John Challenger of Challenger, Gray and Christmas is quoted in the New York Times:
A lot of kids are missing out by not learning what working is. They're
also missing the process of job hunting. Part of the experience is
developing persistence and the all-important skills of shaking hands,
answering questions clearly and looking someone in the eye.
How's that "hope and change" working out for the nation's youth, in general, and minority youth, in particular?
Let the discussion begin...
To read the New York Time article, click on the following link:
"If a Teenager Lands a Summer Job, the Value Is Lasting."