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  • Youth Unemployment At Highest Levels In A Half-Century

    12/3/2012 2:46:12 PM Posted by Stephen Smoot



    “America’s young people stand last in line for jobs.”  So says the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s “Kids Count Policy Report.”youthunemplmnt 

    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:

    When 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 forces dwindle. 

    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. 


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