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Youth Unemployment

Kids Count

The unemployment rate for teens aged 16 to 19 years of age is a staggering 24.5 percent. In 2007 the teenage unemployment rate for 16 to 19 year olds was 16.3 percent. California and Georgia lead the country in teen unemployment at 34.6 percent.

Many changes have occurred since I was a teenager that has contributed to fewer jobs being available to teenagers. If you have been to area grocery stores and department stores you will see that cashier free check outs are on the rise. As in many other segments of the economy where job elimination is an issue as technological advances continue to remove the hands of labor such as was seen in the auto industry.

Some say the increase in the minimum wage has pushed down on hiring teenagers; states like California have an $8 an hour minimum wage scale. Other factors that were not anticipated are the participation of older workers who are competing for jobs previously held by young people.

As the recession has taken its toll on the overall economy, it has forced some retirees to come out of retirement to take jobs that youth would have taken historically. Many older people are taking these jobs as their retirement incomes are tied to the vicissitudes of the stock market and dramatic declines cut into the incomes of retired seniors leaving them no choice but to reenter the workforce.

Retirees may also be facing significant upturns in insurance premiums and copays for medications and doctor visits. In addition, teenagers sometimes face an attitude from adults that expresses distrust of them in several ways. Some adults fear that teenagers may sue them if they hurt themselves, still other adult’s fear that a teenager may make an allegation of inappropriate behavior and possibly the most difficult attitude to overcome is that teenagers today are lazy and lacking in the skill sets to be in the work place.

Reach the writer at Hurlburt@wildblue.net

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