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.

Teen unemployment on the rise, blame the minimum wage

Over at the Daily Caller, Chris Moody points out that the rise in teenage unemployment can be laid, in part, at the feet of the minimum wage:

While the global economic downturn continues to take its toll, a new United Nations agency report contends that young workers may have been hit the hardest, pointing to a dramatic rise in the number of unemployed youth around the world. While analysts list a host of reasons why young people can’t find jobs, there is one culprit, at least in the United States, that some economists say continues to rear its head: The minimum wage.

Laws that mandate minimum wages for employees block the lowest skilled workers out of the job market — a demographic largely made up by young people — and contribute to widespread unemployment among the group, economists contend. In order for an employer to justify making a new hire, they must have knowledge that the new employee will contribute more per hour than what they are being paid. So if the minimum wage is set at $7.25 (the current federal standard), unskilled workers who cannot produce that level of income for the company are more likely to be out of a job completely.

“When the government forces employers to pay more, it prices some workers out of jobs,” said Donald Boudreaux, an economist at George Mason University in Virginia. “When you deny teenagers the opportunity to work  by pricing them out of the labor market with ridiculous legislation, you create a long term problem because you delay entry into the workforce.”

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