Current Job Market for Teens is the Toughest on Record

Thomas Sowell used his latest piece to address a common misconception regarding the left’s avowed concern for minorities. In his column, the renowned economist pointed out that the educational policies pursued by the left in the name of the poor and the minorities often hurt those they claim to protect.

The same can be said about other policies pursued by Democrats who tend to defend that more interventionism will undoubtedly lead to more opportunities for the poor, the young and the minorities.

According to a Brookings Institute study, teens have been having a harder time finding jobs in recent years. In 2000, research shows that 45% of teens in the U.S. had jobs, now only 26% of teens aged 16 to 19 are employed.

Researchers used Department of Labor and Census data to track youth employment among the 100 largest metro areas in the country. The study shows that 1.8 million teens are either actively looking for a job but are unable to get one or they have part-time jobs, whereas they’d prefer to obtain full-time employment instead. The study refers to this pattern as “underutilization,” which means that teens are not satisfied or financially stable to focus solely on school.

In other words, more teens need to work but are unable to find work.

The job market for young adults has also shrunk. Research shows that in 2000, 72% of adults aged 20 to 24 were employed, in 2011 only 61% had jobs. This affects mostly blacks and Hispanics in metro areas, according to Brookings. High school grads are also having a harder time finding jobs. Employment opportunities were only available to 46% of workers without a college degree in 2012, whereas at least 64% of high school grads in 1993 were able to find jobs within a year of finishing school.

Libertarians and conservatives are often accused of not caring about minorities and the youth when it comes to economic and educational policies, but what the left must understand is that their interventionist approach does not align with the goal they often claim to aim for.

The harsh truth is that you cannot tax people into prosperity and you cannot declare you care about the little guy when your policies only create more impediments to small businesses. You also cannot profess you care about teen and young adult unemployment and push for higher federal minimum wage policies that will force business owners everywhere to reconsider their hiring practices, keeping inexperienced workers out of the workforce.

Policies that stir the markets a certain way end up doing nothing to help the poor and often restrict the freedom of the common man or woman by keeping them from finding their own way out of poverty. What President Obama and democrats in general must understand is that claiming you are for the poor but enacting policies that hurt them is just wrong.


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