These charts are head scratchers. I had a paper route when I was 12. I started a part-time job when I was 16 and have worked ever since. The number of teens working has been falling for the last 20 years.
The number of teens with summer jobs has fallen roughly 30 percentage points since the late ‘70s. In 1978, nearly three in four teenagers (71.8%) ages 16 to 19 held a summer job, but as of last year, only about four in 10 teens did, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics for the month of July analyzed by outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas . It’s been a steady decline, seen even during good times: During the dot-com boom in the late 1990s, when national unemployment was only about 4%, roughly six in 10 teens held summer jobs. Even recently, with the economy recovering, fewer teens opted for jobs: Last year’s summer job gain was down 3% from the summer payrolls in 2012, the report revealed.
The first chart shows the dramatic plunge from 1995 onward. Have parents become too soft and are coddling their little babies? It certainly isn’t because people’s financial situation is better than it was in 1995. Real household income is lower than it was in 1998. College tuition has skyrocketed, so you would think teenagers would need to work in order to save for college and pay for their incidentals. Has the peddling of student loans by the government made teenagers think they got found money?
The chart below would indicate that teenagers are just lazy. They don’t want to work. They just want to play video games, text, facebook and twitter. Are they just the most spoiled, coddled generation ever? We know they all get trophies no matter where they finish.
Or does this chart tell the true story? Are baby boomers refusing to leave the workforce and clogging up the traditional entry level jobs for teenagers? If you go to fast food joints these days there sure are a lot more gray hairs behind the counter. Boomers lived for today and never saved for tomorrow, so now they are taking the jobs from millenials.
I think I know the answer I’ll get from the old fogeys on this site. My teenagers are working. Based on my observations, if a kid really wants to work, they can get a job.