Teenagers With Jobs Keep Their Families Financially Afloat During Pandemic

In a report released on Monday, February 15, economists in Nevada shared that an increasing share of teenagers are helping keep their families financially afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many kids have parents or guardians who lost their jobs, got laid off indefinitely or were furloughed as a result of COVID-19 related closures. Teenagers, who for the most part have been able to avoid severe COVID-19 disease, have been able to take on some of the front-line work at grocery stores and in other places where healthy people are needed for in-person work at bricks-and-mortar locations.

High School Students Are Pulling Double-duty

For most students, high school is considered to be a full-time job. Many high school students are now pulling double-duty with a part-time or even full-time job. When a high school student got a job in the past, it was typically for paying for their own car, saving for college, taking a break for a year between high school and college to travel or for spending money. Today, many teens are having to take jobs in order to help their parents or guardians pay the mortgage, rent, utilities or grocery bills.

Teens Get Entry Jobs in the Labor Market

Teens are attractive to employers because they can be paid minimum wage. They're strong and healthy, so they can handle the physically intense work of lifting, cleaning and standing on their feet for an eight-hour shift. A lot of teens are combining jobs with remote learning schedules. Some even listen to their classes or tune in between shifts, which is easier if they are on an asynchronous learning plan.

Types of Jobs Teens Are Doing During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Restaurant jobs have always been popular among teenagers. Several teens in Las Vegas, NV, were interviewed and spoke about the jobs they have. For most, this is their first job. Even for those who have worked for a year or two, they are typically in low-wage, low-level jobs. Even so, these jobs are important to the economy. Some of the roles that the hardworking teens are filling include working in a coffee shop, fast food restaurant or grocery store. One teen even got a job in a medical office. Another hopes to work for a veterinary practice, walking the dogs who are boarded and cleaning up after the dogs.

Why the Teens Entered the Labor Market

These hardworking teenagers didn't want to see their parents and guardians struggling to pay the bills. Most of them had one or even both parents lose their jobs. In single-parent households, this situation put the whole family between a rock and a hard place. Some of the teens work 30 or more hours per week. One, who works at Raising Canes, gets up at 6:30 am to do homework, then logs on for virtual classes. He takes a run or does a workout between classes. After school, he works at 3:00 pm to 11:00 pm shift three to five days per week. This student is just one example of how teens work hard but often have their ethics and determination glossed over by a lot of adults.

High-paying Jobs Are Hard to Find

In some Las Vegas households, parents who got laid off had to take low-paying jobs. Teens are working to make up some of the difference. The current unemployment rate in Las Vegas is 10.4%. The city depends on tourism, which has been one of the hardest-hit industries since the pandemic began 11 months ago.

Another Teen's Story

One teen took a job at a fast food restaurant, even though he didn't plan to. His father is a self-employed pool cleaner, and his income remained steady since the pandemic began. However, his mother's job as a hotel housekeeper for a hotel on the Vegas strip was curtailed. That's why the teen got a job. This teen gives his parents $100 toward bills each month. He saves the rest for his future car and education.

Teens Feel the Stress

Several teens admit that working and school is stressful. They try not to let their younger siblings see their anxiety, stress and frustration. Many teens say that working and going to school interferes with the ability to have any type of social life. Others noted that while they have to be cheerful for customers at their jobs, they feel sad, anxious and lonely inside their minds.

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