By Rachel Jankowski, Young America's Foundation
For a teenager, another summer means another opportunity to make
some quick cash to spend on going to the movies or saving for
college. But for the past three years of the Obama administration,
the jobs have just not been there.
A recent report from Northeastern University's Center for Labor
Market Studies confirms that this summer will be even worse:
only 26.8% of teenagers will be able to find a job.
Most teens will have to sit around and wait with the hopes that
someone calls for an interview. For the past two summers, I was one
of those people. Going out for a month, hitting every
restaurant and store in my suburban Detroit hometown in the hopes
that someone-anyone-would need another person to work at their
business. Bloomberg claims one out of every
six 16- to 24-year-olds was in this daunting position last year and
was unable to find work.
For businesses, it's already rarely worth it to hire a temporary
student-worker. In this economy, many experienced workers are
looking for full-time jobs, so why would an employer invest in an
employee who can only work for the summer? Most businesses choose
to invest in someone who can stick around.
Another problem is employers find young people too expensive to
hire. Federal regulation costs businesses more than $10,000
to hire one additional employee. The passage of ObamaCare
poses a big problem because it alone raises the cost of healthcare
by 50% for young people.
Ask a senior in high school if they know of someone looking for
a job. Ask a mother of three teenagers if one of her kids needs to
find work. Most, if not all, will have a friend or family member in
search of a job. Then ask them if they know of any place hiring.
According to a recent article in the Huffington Post,
more than 44% of teens are unable to work as much as they
want to. I was finally offered a job that first summer of
my job search, where I was given seven hours a week. It was not
even enough to cover my drive to work because of high gas prices.
Finally, I was forced to return to my high school job so I could
come out of work actually making money.
If it is already this hard to find a minimum wage job, what will
happen to my generation when we have to look for a "real" job?
If a college graduate begins looking for job prospects, but has
never worked a job before because he was unable to find one, his
chances will be extremely hurt in landing a sustainable career.
With more teens becoming disheartened and quitting their job
search, will these teens, upon looking for a job, become
discouraged workers at an even quicker pace than their parents' and
grandparents' generations are now?
Sadly, there seems to be no end in sight either.
Bloomberg reports over the past four years, 41% of the
net-decline in full-time jobs has been among those under the age of
25. A staggering 2/3 of lost full-time jobs have been to those
35-years-old and younger. According to government predictions,
employment rates for young adults will continue to drop. By 2020,
16 to 24-year-olds will make up only 11% of the labor force thanks
to the government's failed policies and excessive
For teenagers, they can give it the old college try (if they or
their parents can afford it), but after a while, what's a kid to
Rachel Jankowski is a Sarah T. Hermann Intern
Scholar at Young America's Foundation. She will be a senior at the
University of Michigan this fall.