Study: Teen Labor Force Plunged Over Past Decade
Jim LiebeltJim is Senior Writer, Editor and Researcher for the HomeWord Center for Youth and Family at Azusa Pacific University. Jim has over 25 years of experience as a youth and family ministry specialist, and has been on the HomeWord staff since 1998. He has served over the years as a pastor, author, youth ministry trainer, adjunct college instructor and speaker. Jim’s culture blog and parenting articles appear on HomeWord.com. Jim is a contributing author of culture and parenting articles to Crosswalk.com. Jim and his wife Jenny live in Olympia, WA.
- 2014 Mar 17
Teenagers are getting squeezed out of the labor force in record numbers as unemployment among the youngest workers remains at astronomical levels nearly five years after the last recession ended, according to a study from the Brookings Institution, a Washington think tank.
The study found that numbers of working teenagers has plunged by nearly half over a decade, to 24 percent in 2011 from 44 percent in 2000. Nationally, the unemployment rate among teens is 25 percent, compared with less than 7 percent for all workers.
“If this were any other group, you would call it a Great Depression,” said Andrew Sum, the Northeastern University economist who coauthored the study.
Competition from older, more experienced workers pushed into lower-skilled jobs because of the weak economy has crowded out teenagers from traditional jobs in retail, restaurants, and other lower paying service industries, Sum said. This lack of opportunity could have long-term effects on teens, the labor force, and the broader economy as young people fail to gain the experience that might help them advance careers and become more productive workers, resulting in lower earnings over a working life.