At the start of the millennium, teen employment fell by 45 percent and has seemed to never really pick back up to what it was before the 2000s.
According to data recorded by the U.S. Department of Labour: Bureau of Labour Statistics in July, teens were dropping out of the workforce before the United States was hit with one of its worst recessions in 2007.
Between the late 1990s and early 2000s, teen employment started to fall drastically. It started to rise again sometime around the mid-2000s, but since 2010 the number of young teens gaining experience in the workforce has continued to fall.
Surprisingly, the recession is not fully to blame for the low teen employment rate we currently see today in the U.S.
You may think that some other hopeless factor like a lack of self-motivation is the reason behind this trend. Despite popular belief, teenagers today aren’t in the workforce because of laziness either, but because of the decrease in long-term wage benefits.
The National Bureau of Economic Research group discovered that in comparison to previous years, teen jobs today do not equal out to higher salary rates later in life.
Data provided by the National Longitudinal Youth Surveys revealed that teenagers who worked 20 or more hours per week in the 1970s and 1980s went on to have a 8.3 percent higher salary rate throughout their 20s. For the younger working group today, it’s only a 4.4 percent increase in comparison to peers who decide not to pursue a job.
So, what may the reason be behind this unfortunate statistic?
Well, research says that teenage occupations may adversely affect adult work experience and employment:
Senior-year employment reduced the likelihood that a member of the NLSY79 [older] sample later ended up in a (typically low paid) service occupation, while this probability was increased for the NLSY97 [younger] cohort."
Another reason may also be that there’s a steady growing "skill premium" in today’s job market. As a result, jobs are expecting more tradable knowledge from prospective applicants.
One analyst says, It may be that teens could do better to invest their time in learning lucrative future job skills than standing behind a burger counter.
Many people view teen employment as a great learning tool to establish at a young age because it makes you more experienced, employable, and provides you with a higher wage trajectory later years to come.
During the economic downturn, this notion was stressed even more—especially with the scoring number of teens out of work.
However, with a dull payoff to look forward to in the coming years, teens may not be missing out on anything as far as flipping burgers at McDonald’s.
Other factors like low-income living situations or poverty-stricken homes may be pushing most kids to work a job in addition to going to school. Therefore, some teenagers may not have a choice but to work while others do.
Overall, statistics show that teen employment wouldn’t make a difference in the long run either way.
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