Why only one in four teens is employed

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    Jul 01, 2011 5:51 PM GMT
    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304447804576411903821123330.html?mod=WSJ_Opinion_LEADTop

    Only 24% of teens, one in four, have jobs, compared to 42% as recently as the summer of 2001. The nearby chart chronicles the teen employment percentage over time, including the notable plunge in the last decade. So instead of learning valuable job skills—getting out of bed before noon, showing up on time, being courteous to customers, operating a cash register or fork lift—millions of kids will spend the summer playing computer games or hanging out.

    The lousy economic recovery explains much of this decline in teens working, and some is due to increases in teen summer school enrollment. Some is also cultural: Many parents don't put the same demands on teens as they once did to get out and work.

    But Congress has also contributed by passing one of the most ill-timed minimum wage increases in history. One of the first acts of the gone-but-not-forgotten Nancy Pelosi ascendancy was to raise the minimum wage in stages to $7.25 an hour in 2009 from $5.15 in 2007. Even liberals ought to understand that raising the cost of hiring the young and unskilled while employers are slashing payrolls is loopy economics.

    Or maybe not. The Center for American Progress, often called the think tank for the Obama White House, recently recommended another increase to $8.25 an hour. Though the U.S. unemployment rate is 9.1%, the thinkers assert that a rising wage would "stimulate economic growth to the tune of 50,000 new jobs." So if the government orders employers to pay more to hire workers when they're already not hiring, they'll somehow hire more workers. By this logic, if we raised the minimum wage to $25 an hour we'd have full employment.

    Back on planet Earth, the minimum wage increase has coincided with the plunge in the percentage of working teens. Before the most recent wage hikes, roughly seven million teens were working. Now there are closer to five million with a job and paycheck.

    Black teens have had the worst of it, with their unemployment rate rising to 41.6% in April from 29% in 2007, faster than almost any other group. A 2010 study by economists William Even of Miami University of Ohio and David Macpherson of Trinity University found that as a result of the $2.10 increase in minimum wage, "teen employment dropped by 6.9 percent. . . . For the teen population with less than 12 years of education completed, teen employment dropped by 12.4 percent." For teens priced out of the labor market, their wage fell to zero.
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    Jul 01, 2011 5:53 PM GMT
    I have always concurred that minimum wage discriminates against young people and low-skilled workers.
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    Jul 01, 2011 5:57 PM GMT
    mocktwinkie saidI have always concurred that minimum wage discriminates against young people and low-skilled workers.


    What I have always found bizarre is that those who advocate for minorities and the poor often advocate policies that are most harmful to the poor and minorities.
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    Jul 01, 2011 5:57 PM GMT
    mocktwinkie saidI have always concurred that minimum wage discriminates against young people and low-skilled workers.


    How so?
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    Jul 01, 2011 5:59 PM GMT
    DoomsDayAlpaca said
    mocktwinkie saidI have always concurred that minimum wage discriminates against young people and low-skilled workers.


    How so?


    Perhaps you should consider actually looking at the data.
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    Jul 01, 2011 6:03 PM GMT
    riddler78 said
    mocktwinkie saidI have always concurred that minimum wage discriminates against young people and low-skilled workers.


    What I have always found bizarre is that those who advocate for minorities and the poor often advocate policies that are most harmful to the poor and minorities.


    I know. African Americans have been hurt so bad by minimum wage.
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    Jul 01, 2011 6:06 PM GMT
    mocktwinkie said
    riddler78 said
    mocktwinkie saidI have always concurred that minimum wage discriminates against young people and low-skilled workers.


    What I have always found bizarre is that those who advocate for minorities and the poor often advocate policies that are most harmful to the poor and minorities.


    I know. African Americans have been hurt so bad by minimum wage.


    Are you kidding me with this? How exactly has minimum wage hurt African Americans?
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    Jul 01, 2011 6:08 PM GMT
    riddler78 said
    DoomsDayAlpaca said
    mocktwinkie saidI have always concurred that minimum wage discriminates against young people and low-skilled workers.


    How so?


    Perhaps you should consider actually looking at the data.



    Who is going to be able to live on $5.15 an hour? Especially when business are forever shafting workers on breaks, overtime, hours, sick days, poor management, etc etc etc.
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    Jul 01, 2011 6:20 PM GMT
    DoomsDayAlpaca said
    riddler78 said
    DoomsDayAlpaca said
    mocktwinkie saidI have always concurred that minimum wage discriminates against young people and low-skilled workers.


    How so?


    Perhaps you should consider actually looking at the data.



    Who is going to be able to live on $5.15 an hour? Especially when business are forever shafting workers on breaks, overtime, hours, sick days, poor management, etc etc etc.


    Yeah because money grows on trees and if you increase minimum wage without corresponding productivity growth, there is no effect on overall employment?

    Put yourself in the shoes of an employer, if minimum wage doubles, do you hire the same people or look for better people who can do more since you have the same income but your costs are rising. And that's what we're seeing here - the inexperienced don't get hired - given the choice, and the same costs, why would an employer bother?
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    Jul 01, 2011 6:25 PM GMT
    riddler78 said
    DoomsDayAlpaca said
    riddler78 said
    DoomsDayAlpaca said
    mocktwinkie saidI have always concurred that minimum wage discriminates against young people and low-skilled workers.


    How so?


    Perhaps you should consider actually looking at the data.



    Who is going to be able to live on $5.15 an hour? Especially when business are forever shafting workers on breaks, overtime, hours, sick days, poor management, etc etc etc.


    Yeah because money grows on trees and if you increase minimum wage without corresponding productivity growth, there is no effect on overall employment?

    Put yourself in the shoes of an employer, if minimum wage doubles, do you hire the same people or look for better people who can do more since you have the same income but your costs are rising. And that's what we're seeing here - the inexperienced don't get hired - given the choice, and the same costs, why would an employer bother?


    Uh...when in recent time did minimum wage double? Even before the increase in minimum wage getting hired without experience has always been a total catch 22(you need experience to get the job, but you can't get the job without experience). The cost of living has gone up, profits are up, and yet wages for most Americans stay the same. The only people who have seen their wages increase are the top 10%
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    Jul 01, 2011 6:31 PM GMT
    DoomsDayAlpaca saidUh...when in recent time did minimum wage double? Even before the increase in minimum wage getting hired without experience has always been a total catch 22(you need experience to get the job, but you can't get the job without experience). The cost of living has gone up, profits are up, and yet wages for most Americans stay the same. The only people who have seen their wages increase are the top 10%


    Except the effect of these factors has only increased with rising minimum wage. People who get minimum wage generally get minimum wage because they are inexperienced or unskilled. Thus reducing cost increases incentives of employers to hire.

    Here we have unemployment rising for the ... inexperienced and unskilled - especially teens and especially teens who happen to be Black.

    Again, anyone who has done any hiring and is forced to make choices can see the issue here:

    Black teens have had the worst of it, with their unemployment rate rising to 41.6% in April from 29% in 2007, faster than almost any other group. A 2010 study by economists William Even of Miami University of Ohio and David Macpherson of Trinity University found that as a result of the $2.10 increase in minimum wage, "teen employment dropped by 6.9 percent. . . . For the teen population with less than 12 years of education completed, teen employment dropped by 12.4 percent." For teens priced out of the labor market, their wage fell to zero.
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    Jul 01, 2011 6:41 PM GMT
    riddler78 said
    DoomsDayAlpaca saidUh...when in recent time did minimum wage double? Even before the increase in minimum wage getting hired without experience has always been a total catch 22(you need experience to get the job, but you can't get the job without experience). The cost of living has gone up, profits are up, and yet wages for most Americans stay the same. The only people who have seen their wages increase are the top 10%


    Except the effect of these factors has only increased with rising minimum wage. People who get minimum wage generally get minimum wage because they are inexperienced or unskilled. Thus reducing cost increases incentives of employers to hire.

    Here we have unemployment rising for the ... inexperienced and unskilled - especially teens and especially teens who happen to be Black.

    Again, anyone who has done any hiring and is forced to make choices can see the issue here:

    Black teens have had the worst of it, with their unemployment rate rising to 41.6% in April from 29% in 2007, faster than almost any other group. A 2010 study by economists William Even of Miami University of Ohio and David Macpherson of Trinity University found that as a result of the $2.10 increase in minimum wage, "teen employment dropped by 6.9 percent. . . . For the teen population with less than 12 years of education completed, teen employment dropped by 12.4 percent." For teens priced out of the labor market, their wage fell to zero.


    I think you are forgetting to factor in that blacks are less likely to get a job among all races, period. That is a huge factor.

    You are forgetting that without it, many people wouldn't have anything close to a living wage (which in most cases minimum wage is a far cry from livable.) Business want to hire people but they don't want to pay them, hence why illegal immigrants are so popular.
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    Jul 01, 2011 6:53 PM GMT
    DoomsDayAlpaca saidI think you are forgetting to factor in that blacks are less likely to get a job among all races, period. That is a huge factor.

    You are forgetting that without it, many people wouldn't have anything close to a living wage (which in most cases minimum wage is a far cry from livable.) Business want to hire people but they don't want to pay them, hence why illegal immigrants are so popular.


    I don't understand your logic - so make it even more difficult and expensive to hire workers and force employers to pay more - and by doing so not hire as many unskilled and inexperienced workers? Businesses only hire when it makes sense and profitable to do so.
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    Jul 01, 2011 6:56 PM GMT
    riddler78 said
    DoomsDayAlpaca saidI think you are forgetting to factor in that blacks are less likely to get a job among all races, period. That is a huge factor.

    You are forgetting that without it, many people wouldn't have anything close to a living wage (which in most cases minimum wage is a far cry from livable.) Business want to hire people but they don't want to pay them, hence why illegal immigrants are so popular.


    I don't understand your logic - so make it even more difficult and expensive to hire workers and force employers to pay more - and by doing so not hire as many unskilled and inexperienced workers? Businesses only hire when it makes sense and profitable to do so.


    Did you not see where I pointed out the cost of living has gone up while wages stay the same except for the top Americans? Cut executive overhead.
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    Jul 01, 2011 7:07 PM GMT
    DoomsDayAlpaca said
    riddler78 said
    DoomsDayAlpaca saidUh...when in recent time did minimum wage double? Even before the increase in minimum wage getting hired without experience has always been a total catch 22(you need experience to get the job, but you can't get the job without experience). The cost of living has gone up, profits are up, and yet wages for most Americans stay the same. The only people who have seen their wages increase are the top 10%


    Except the effect of these factors has only increased with rising minimum wage. People who get minimum wage generally get minimum wage because they are inexperienced or unskilled. Thus reducing cost increases incentives of employers to hire.

    Here we have unemployment rising for the ... inexperienced and unskilled - especially teens and especially teens who happen to be Black.

    Again, anyone who has done any hiring and is forced to make choices can see the issue here:

    Black teens have had the worst of it, with their unemployment rate rising to 41.6% in April from 29% in 2007, faster than almost any other group. A 2010 study by economists William Even of Miami University of Ohio and David Macpherson of Trinity University found that as a result of the $2.10 increase in minimum wage, "teen employment dropped by 6.9 percent. . . . For the teen population with less than 12 years of education completed, teen employment dropped by 12.4 percent." For teens priced out of the labor market, their wage fell to zero.


    I think you are forgetting to factor in that blacks are less likely to get a job among all races, period. That is a huge factor.


    You are forgetting that without it, many people wouldn't have anything close to a living wage (which in most cases minimum wage is a far cry from livable.) Business want to hire people but they don't want to pay them, hence why illegal immigrants are so popular.


    And now you know why minimum wage hurts blacks disproportionately. You just answered your own question.
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    Jul 01, 2011 7:22 PM GMT
    mocktwinkie said
    DoomsDayAlpaca said
    riddler78 said
    DoomsDayAlpaca saidUh...when in recent time did minimum wage double? Even before the increase in minimum wage getting hired without experience has always been a total catch 22(you need experience to get the job, but you can't get the job without experience). The cost of living has gone up, profits are up, and yet wages for most Americans stay the same. The only people who have seen their wages increase are the top 10%


    Except the effect of these factors has only increased with rising minimum wage. People who get minimum wage generally get minimum wage because they are inexperienced or unskilled. Thus reducing cost increases incentives of employers to hire.

    Here we have unemployment rising for the ... inexperienced and unskilled - especially teens and especially teens who happen to be Black.

    Again, anyone who has done any hiring and is forced to make choices can see the issue here:

    Black teens have had the worst of it, with their unemployment rate rising to 41.6% in April from 29% in 2007, faster than almost any other group. A 2010 study by economists William Even of Miami University of Ohio and David Macpherson of Trinity University found that as a result of the $2.10 increase in minimum wage, "teen employment dropped by 6.9 percent. . . . For the teen population with less than 12 years of education completed, teen employment dropped by 12.4 percent." For teens priced out of the labor market, their wage fell to zero.


    I think you are forgetting to factor in that blacks are less likely to get a job among all races, period. That is a huge factor.


    You are forgetting that without it, many people wouldn't have anything close to a living wage (which in most cases minimum wage is a far cry from livable.) Business want to hire people but they don't want to pay them, hence why illegal immigrants are so popular.


    And now you know why minimum wage hurts blacks disproportionately. You just answered your own question.


    ......WHAT?
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    Jul 02, 2011 1:44 AM GMT
    mocktwinkie said
    riddler78 said
    mocktwinkie saidI have always concurred that minimum wage discriminates against young people and low-skilled workers.


    What I have always found bizarre is that those who advocate for minorities and the poor often advocate policies that are most harmful to the poor and minorities.


    I know. African Americans have been hurt so bad by minimum wage.





    Don't African Americans have the same opportunity as everyone else to graduate from high school, go to college (using grants), and get a well paying job ?

    I know for a fact that, in San Mateo County, CA, the County will pay every cent to train unemployed workers for a career.
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    Jul 02, 2011 1:57 AM GMT
    I was "self-employed" in high school (mowed lawns, carpenter work, farm work, made and sold stuff, etc.) - because I didn't want a 9-5 job.
    Still that way, only the services offered are different.

    Hopefully the massive teen "unemployment" rate means that more teens are learning to be self-sufficient without having to work on someone else's schedule (aka: a job). May be wishing in the wind, but it's definitely a motivating factor when teens want money and nobody will hire them.
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    Jul 02, 2011 7:29 AM GMT
    paulflexes saidI was "self-employed" in high school (mowed lawns, carpenter work, farm work, made and sold stuff, etc.) - because I didn't want a 9-5 job.
    Still that way, only the services offered are different.

    Hopefully the massive teen "unemployment" rate means that more teens are learning to be self-sufficient without having to work on someone else's schedule (aka: a job). May be wishing in the wind, but it's definitely a motivating factor when teens want money and nobody will hire them.


    Yeah I'm guessing that's not the case, but what is kind of fascinating is seeing how more than ever many teens do have alternative ways to make money - given that programming/coding can be self taught as well. I'm guessing though that the rise in unemployment is not the result of self employment. The rise in the minimum wage I think is having a substantial impact - particularly given that there is so much slack in the economy.

    At the higher costs, it's far easier to hire someone who is more reliable/experienced and consequently older than hire a teenager or someone without experience.
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    Jul 02, 2011 8:03 AM GMT
    riddler78 said
    paulflexes saidI was "self-employed" in high school (mowed lawns, carpenter work, farm work, made and sold stuff, etc.) - because I didn't want a 9-5 job.
    Still that way, only the services offered are different.

    Hopefully the massive teen "unemployment" rate means that more teens are learning to be self-sufficient without having to work on someone else's schedule (aka: a job). May be wishing in the wind, but it's definitely a motivating factor when teens want money and nobody will hire them.


    Yeah I'm guessing that's not the case, but what is kind of fascinating is seeing how more than ever many teens do have alternative ways to make money - given that programming/coding can be self taught as well. I'm guessing though that the rise in unemployment is not the result of self employment. The rise in the minimum wage I think is having a substantial impact - particularly given that there is so much slack in the economy.

    At the higher costs, it's far easier to hire someone who is more reliable/experienced and consequently older than hire a teenager or someone without experience.


    No one is going to hire you for any job that requires programming or coding unless you have all kinds of certifications(one of which being a bachelors degree). Unless of course you are a hacker and get caught by the feds who then offer you a job.
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    Jul 02, 2011 8:15 AM GMT
    DoomsDayAlpaca saidNo one is going to hire you for any job that requires programming or coding unless you have all kinds of certifications(one of which being a bachelors degree). Unless of course you are a hacker and get caught by the feds who then offer you a job.


    Not even remotely true. I've hired others for projects based on skills and one of the best programmers I know doesn't even have a degree related to computer science, math or computer engineering.

    Programming and coding is a space that is based far more on merit than it is on papers on a wall.
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    Jul 02, 2011 8:21 AM GMT
    riddler78 said
    DoomsDayAlpaca saidNo one is going to hire you for any job that requires programming or coding unless you have all kinds of certifications(one of which being a bachelors degree). Unless of course you are a hacker and get caught by the feds who then offer you a job.


    Not even remotely true. I've hired others for projects based on skills and one of the best programmers I know doesn't even have a degree related to computer science, math or computer engineering.

    Programming and coding is a space that is based far more on merit than it is on papers on a wall.
    Exactly. Coding (and many other high tech careers) can be self-taught; and it doesn't take some piece of paper (aka: degree) to be self-employed. All it takes is happy/repeat clients.
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    Jul 02, 2011 12:29 PM GMT
    Am I the only one who thinks teenagers should be focused on their studies and not working? I say that as someone who has had a job since I was 13.

    Wouldn't it be better if the parents had the money to let their child(ren) go to school, do their homework, engage in extracurricular activities?
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    Jul 02, 2011 12:48 PM GMT
    Suppose that there was no minimum wage law in effect? What do you think the companies such as McDonalds, Walmart, etc would be paying? $5.00/hr, $4.00/hr, or less? These corporations will pay the absolute lowest that they have to pay. It's just a business decision. At the same time, the minimum wage law, makes the corporations pay just what they are required to pay $7.25. This helps the poor people. Things will change very little until corporations start doing the right thing and caring about people.
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    Jul 02, 2011 11:48 PM GMT
    vincent7 saidSuppose that there was no minimum wage law in effect? What do you think the companies such as McDonalds, Walmart, etc would be paying? $5.00/hr, $4.00/hr, or less? These corporations will pay the absolute lowest that they have to pay. It's just a business decision. At the same time, the minimum wage law, makes the corporations pay just what they are required to pay $7.25. This helps the poor people. Things will change very little until corporations start doing the right thing and caring about people.


    No - you'd be wrong on this count. Take Walmart for instance which consistently pays more than minimum wage and higher than its competitors. They in fact have lobbied for increases to minimum wage because they know it hurts their competitors far more than it hurts them. They were supportive of the minimum wage hikes federally.

    The thing is that it hurts poor people over the long run if they aren't able to get the experience that they need. Look at the stats on the age of those looking for internships which has been rising - where they make little to no money - substantially under minimum wage. Despite this being a glaring loophole, it is the sad reality that there are those who are either forced to work for nothing or not get the experience at all because they are not important enough to businesses to pay the full minimum wage but that the experience is sufficiently valuable that people would learn/work for free.

    Corporations do pay the lowest that they have to pay but it isn't the big companies that are paying minimum wage it's the small businesses who also get hurt the most. Right thing and caring? Sorry, maybe someone should let them.

    In this particularly poor job market, you have the results of minimum wage so plainly obvious - highest unemployment with the least skilled and least experienced - particularly teens. These are the wages of what you call "doing the right thing".