Stream of Consciousness

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Honey, why aren't the kids working too?

Brett at Pursue the Passion noted these facts from a Northeastern University study today:
• The average teen employment rate for January-March 2008 was 33.5%, implying that 1 out of 3 teenagers were employed. This is the lowest rate since 1948.
• Eight years ago, in 2000, the employment rate for teens was 45.2%, a difference of 11.7 percentage points.
• If teens had been employed at the same rate as 2000, there would be another 2 million teens working in 2008.
• During the national job recovery from the third quarter of 2003 to the end of 2007, total civilian employment rose by 8.747 million workers. The number of employed teens at the end of the boom compared to the beginning was 10,000 workers lower- despite continued growth in the size of the teen population.
from The Continued Collapse of the Nation’s Teen Job Market and the Dismal Outlook for the 2008 Summer Labor Market for Teens: Does Anybody Care?

But seriously. Is it because there are no jobs for teenagers, or because teenagers don’t want jobs, or even because they don’t want CERTAIN jobs? Whichever answer says a lot more about our society I think than the statistics alone.

If it’s because there’s no jobs — do we speak the “r” word (one we don’t use here in the investment industry yet) and cite broad rises in unemployment? Or is it attributed to a crowding at the top as more boomers work later into life, leaving less room for everyone to move up the later?

However, if it’s because kids don’t want certain jobs or jobs at all - are we raising lazier teenagers? Are we over educating and unemploying them? (Sometimes I even feel superbly frustrated by the monkey-like manual data tasks I have to complete.)

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