“America’s young people stand last in line for
jobs.” So says the Annie E. Casey
Foundation’s “Kids Count Policy Report.”
According to the report, 6.5 million American youth
are unemployed and out of school, roughly equivalent to the entire population of
Massachusetts. The Casey Foundation
calls these young adults “disconnected” and speculates that the skills and work
ethic not learned by them now could have consequences later.
It explains that:
young people lack connections to jobs and school, government spends more to support
them. Many already have children of their own, exacerbating the intergenerational
cycle of poverty in some communities. Yet even as young people struggle to gain
experience and find any type of job, businesses cannot find the skilled workers
they need to compete in the ever-changing 21st-century economy.
While illuminating the dire problems facing young
Americans seeking a job, the Casey Foundation also examines some of the
problems causing the disconnection. It
discusses a lack of education and jobs, but fails to mention the daunting
obstacles constructed by big government.
States that raise the minimum wage tend to have
lower youth employment. The federal
minimum wage is currently $7.25 an hour, but states can set theirs higher. California established theirs at $8 and has
56 percent youth employment.
Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts, and Oregon all set theirs at $8 or
above. No states with minimum wages at $8 or above have higher than 63 percent youth employment.
All of the states with youth employment rates over 70
percent have the lowest legal minimum wages.
If the Casey Foundation is correct that entry level jobs build skills
and work ethic that the next generation needs, a rising minimum wage devastates
opportunities for millions.
Another body blow to youth employment is regulation,
particularly Obamacare. The cost of any
regulation is a hidden tax burden that a business must bear. When regulations grow too costly, labor
And the youngest worker is usually the one who first
loses his or her job.
The Kids Count report does a great job explaining
the problem, but ignores Big Government’s role in causing it. Obama Administration policies have only made
the problem worse, as the Youth Misery Index has shown.
The Annie E. Casey Foundation was created by United
Parcel Service founder Jim Casey and his brothers in the 1940s. It is currently located in Baltimore.