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Why Teens Aren’t Finding Jobs, and Why Employers Are Paying the Price

Despite the US bent, this Knowledge at Wharton article is thought provoking. As recently as 1990, nearly 70% of newspaper carriers in the U.S. were teens. But that number dropped to 18% in 2004, and more declines are likely. Although reasons for teens being edged out of this formerly youth-dominated profession are specific to the newspaper industry, the end of the boyhood (or girlhood) paper route reflects a dramatic but little-noticed trend: Teen unemployment has hit historic lows in the last three years. Experts in the field say employers who want to ensure a quality workforce down the line should sit up and take notice.


“It’s a baffling problem. The economy is humming along, and employers are almost desperate for people they can hire and train. Contrast that with the lowest teen market penetration in 50 years. Somewhere the connection point is not being made,” says Ken Smith, president and CEO of Jobs for America’s Graduates, an Alexandria, Va.-based non-profit that helps more than 40,000 youth each year transition from school to work. 

According to data gathered for the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 37% of teens nationwide worked in the summer of 2006 — nearly 11% fewer than were working in 1989, the peak of a nation-wide economic boom.  

Click here to read the full article

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