When it Comes to Jobs, A Rough Summer for Youth

By US Daily Review Staff.

Yesterday, the Employment Policies Institute (EPI) released an original analysis of the latest Census Bureau data which finds that, despite modest improvements, teen unemployment is still averaging above 25 percent in 18 states and the District of Columbia. Teen unemployment is currently 24.6 percent nationally, and has been above 20 percent for 43 months.

A list of the 18 states above 25 percent is available below. A 50-state breakdown is available at www.minimumwage.com/in-your-state/

“The first day of summer is almost here, but there’s still no guarantee of a summer job for the nation’s teens,” said Michael Saltsman, research fellow at EPI. “Policymakers should be cautious of passing new legislation, such as misguided minimum wage hikes, that makes it even more difficult for vulnerable teens to find a job.”

Six states—Rhode Island, Michigan, Massachusetts, Illinois, New Jersey, and New York—are actively considering an increase in the minimum wage, and two proposals were recently introduced on the federal level. Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. (D-IL) have introduced proposals to raise the federal minimum wage to approximately $10 an hour.

Economists at Miami and Trinity University found that over 114,000 fewer teens had jobs following the last federal minimum wage increase between 2007 and 2009. And new research appearing in Cornell University’s labor economics journal finds that employment for less-educated young adults fell by over 20 percent after the last legislated wage hike in New York State.

“Teens get more than a paycheck at a summer job—they pick up the skills needed to succeed later in life,” Saltsman continued. “Research shows that missing out on job experience now can have a lasting effect on earnings and employability.”

Saltsman concluded: “As we head in to the summer of 2012, states should avoid building more barriers between young adults and this invaluable experience.”

May 2012, Unemployment Rates for 16-19 Year-Olds

State Name

Unemployment Rate

Unemployed + Discouraged Workers

**

District of Columbia

52.1%

53.7%

1

California

35.6%

36.8%

2

South Carolina

32.6%

33.9%

3

Arizona

29.4%

30.0%

4

North Carolina

29.1%

31.1%

5

Washington

29.1%

29.4%

6

Nevada

28.6%

29.8%

7

Rhode Island

28.5%

29.7%

8

Georgia

28.5%

29.9%

9

Oregon

28.3%

28.3%

10

Idaho

28.3%

28.7%

11

Colorado

27.6%

28.1%

12

New York

27.5%

29.4%

13

Missouri

27.0%

28.3%

14

Florida

26.6%

28.8%

15

Kentucky

26.6%

28.0%

16

Louisiana

26.1%

28.0%

17

Illinois

25.6%

27.0%

18

New Jersey

25.6%

27.6%

Note: EPI Analysis of Census Bureau data, June 2011-May 2012. Figures rounded to one decimal.

All opinions expressed on USDR are those of the author and not necessarily those of US Daily Review.

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