Teenage unemployment is triple the overall average, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. In February 2015, unemployment for those 16-19 was 17.1%, compared to the overall jobless rate of 5.5%. These numbers have improved from a year earlier, where the rate was 23.3% for teens, and 6.7% overall. Similarly, the age of the workforce is getting older. The percentage of those ages 14-18 who were working in 2014 fell from 2% of the overall workforce from 4% in 2001.
The MarketWatch article cites that slow population growth and a weak economic climate are the primary reason for this drop in teen employment. Additionally, millennials are taking on an increasing share of the jobs formerly held by teens. Specifically, 51% of employed class of 2014 college grads are in jobs that do not require a college degree, and 30% of employers are hiring more college-educated workers for roles primarily held by high school graduates.
This matters because of its potential long-term impact. Accordingly, 20 hours of part-time work per week during a senior year of high school can result in annual earnings 20% higher six to nine years after graduation, versus those who didn’t work.
The article also mentions that the drop in teen employment may be because teens are not bothering to look for jobs, and are spending an increasing amount of time on social media.
What do you all think? Do you think that the drop in teen employment is due to a weak economic climate, or simply that teens are more interested in playing on their cell phones/ a cultural issue? And even more importantly, do you all think that this statistic matters?