Is Teenage Unemployment a Big Deal?

Recently, a lot of readers have been sending me links to articles that deal with unemployment, youth unemployment, underemployment etc. I love the wealth of information and I always review every article and look forward to sharing it with you! So please keep them coming!

From US Bureau of Labor Statistics data

Today, I wanted to talk about an article in the New York Post that was sent to me. The article discusses the 24.5% teenage unemployment rate. At first you might think, as I did, that the teenage unemployment rate is not a huge deal. Teenagers don’t have families to take care of and they are (usually) supported by their parents. So, what is the big deal if there aren’t a lot of teens employed? Then, this paragraph caught my eye:

The economic malaise since 2008 has perhaps created a lost generation of sons and daughters missing out on career growth and development because of their inability to get a first job.

I started thinking about my first part-time job. At 16 my parents informed me that they could no longer afford my social life (gas, movies, going out to eat with friends etc.) and, if I wanted to keep my social life I would have to find a part-time job.

I remember that I was a nervous wreck for my first job interview with Dairy Queen and I had no idea what to wear or say. I was thrilled when I got the job and I learned a lot from the experience. I learned how to work with people of many personality types and who were from very different backgrounds. I learned the value of money and about sharing my paycheck with Uncle Sam.

This job was an extremely productive way to use my time and energy and I made a lot of new friends. Sure, it was no fun to clean the bathrooms or mop the dinning area but these tasks pushed me to work hard at school so I wouldn’t have to do this type of work my whole life. This realization relates to another part of the article.

“…job-holding in the senior year is associated with substantially elevated future economic attainment, whether the latter is measured by earnings, wages, occupational status or the receipt of fringe benefits,” said economist Christopher Ruhm.

I definitely agree with this statement based on my personal experience. I’m glad that I got my chance to work part-time jobs and learn and grow. Although, with the way the economy is looking, I may be back at Dairy Queen mopping floors anyway!

Youth Unemployment Cartoon

What do you think about teenage unemployment? Did you have a part-time job that you feel helped you grow and mature?


7 responses to “Is Teenage Unemployment a Big Deal?

  • Shane Pilgrim

    In high school I worked several jobs – I did various stints in a restaurant, a golf course, and a bed and breakfast. All of them built my character – work ethic, social skills, and gave me some respect to the value of money. Through my years in university I’ve worked with a lot of high school kids as well as new incoming freshmen. Those who held jobs in high school and during their freshman years of college were the hardest working students. They were most successful and least likely to drop out.

  • Katy

    Hey! 🙂

    I think teenage employment is definitely important. Busing tables my final two years of high school taught me that… I DON’T want to bus tables for the rest of my life. I worked with many waitresses who were in their 30s and 40s, supporting their family on waitress wage because they didn’t go to college. They’re all great women- but I definitely do not want to spend my 30s in 40s working in a restaurant!

    Also, there’s the resume factor. if a new employer is choosing between 2 candidates, one with work experience and one without… duhhhh they’re going to pick the one who has/has previously shown a good work ethic. That’s why this all SUCKS for teens who can’t get a job- even a job at a fast food restaurant is better than no job at all…

  • BonjourMissMary

    i had several customer service jobs in high school and the greater part of my college career, and I really think that my experience gained in those positions really shaped me into what I am now. Without such jobs…even as a starbucks barista….I would not understand how a company works from the ground up, nor would I understand basic government functions (i.e. taxation). You can read books about resumes, the IRS, and business development, but until you actually work in the field, it is hard to be able to think outside of the box.

  • pobept

    Part of teenage unemployment is a self inflected wound.
    I am now at that age that many things I once did with easy is now very difficult if not imposable for me to do.
    I have tried several time this summer to hire teenagers to work a few weeks helping me out with No Takers once they find out that my jobs are real work, is real manual labor, out of doors in the hot sun.
    It seems many teenage boys think this type of job is below them and would rather set at home on facebook complaining to their facebook friends that they can’t find a job.

  • Katie

    I definitely think that being employed as a teenager was important for me! As soon as I turned 16 and was able to drive, my friend and I made our rounds at about 5 or 6 different restaurants in the area; we both were hired on the spot to be hostesses at Macaroni Grill. The job definitely taught me a lot of things. Discipline (managing school work, extra curricular activities, and a job…), how to work with others, the value of a dollar…they were all gained by having a job in high school. I definitely think it spilled out into my college years as well – after the first semester of my freshman year when I was adjusted to the new environment, I started looking for a job…which I held until I graduated.

    Anyway, I can see how if a teenager in this day and age can’t get their first job, it could lead to a lot of discouragement. I feel it now…even after graduating college a few years ago. I can’t get certain jobs because other people have “more experience,” yet since I can’t get a job in the first place, I will never be able to get that experience under my belt! It’s a vicious circle! 🙂

  • Tori

    These statistics are concerning not only because of the personal development that teenage employment allows, but also because not all teenagers are supported by their parents – some actually do have children, spouses, or even unemployed parents who need their financial assistance. I’m even more concerned about that population than I am about kids like me who worked jobs for personal development and spending money.

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