Best Summer for Teen Jobs in 68 Years
The economy of America is often a mess and certainly another polarizing area of life for its citizens. Since the mid 1950s, when the minimum wage really started to take off all across America, the idea of the "teen job" started to die out. All throughout the early 1900s, restaurants and convenience stores and banks and other businesses would hire teens over the summer. They'd gain job experience, a few bucks, and they'd have something for their resumes. However, the disappearance of teen jobs correlates exactly with the rise of the minimum wage and bosses skipping over teens for more experienced workers. Automation hasn't helped; when's the last time anyone's saw a bagger at a grocery store? Though as of mid July 2021, it has been the best summer for teen jobs since 1953, 68 years.
Of course, as many economists will state, one cannot just blame the minimum wage for the loss of teen jobs. The fact is that many factors played a role over the years since the 1950s in fewer teens being hired. Child labor laws, for instance, are very rigorous. Teens under the age of 17 have to get workers' permits in most states, and cannot get them until they're 15 years of age. SO it's not as if kids can just jump into a job when they're 12 or 13. They must wait until high-school age, at which point many of them are not interested in working summers but rather want to date and drive their parents' cars around.
You also have to consider the fact that parents are offering a better home life now. In the 1950s and 60s, many of these teen jobs were worked by people who needed to contribute to the home for food and bills. With modern America spending trillions of dollars in welfare programs over the past few decades, the need for teens to pitch in was replaced by food stamps and other assistance programs.
No matter why teenage summer jobs dropped off, the fact is they did. However, they're back, and with a vengeance. Millions of teens are employed today, far more than were employed in 1953, at the height of the teen summer job trend. And they're all making a lot more money than kids back then, even adjusted for inflation. Though why is it such a trend now?
Economists claim that it's because so many businesses are desperate for work. For whatever reason, whether it's the government subsidies or bad treatment in the workplace, adults are refusing to take on jobs by the tens of millions. This leaves them desperate for employees, and so they're hiring any teenager who applies. Because most teenagers have their housing and other expenses paid for, many are eager to work to have that spending money every week during the summer. It seems to be the only economic boom currently happening and explains the last two mounts of job reports that have been trending up. Come to find out, they've mostly been teenagers taking entry-level jobs.
Is the Teen Jobs Trend Permanent?
The teen job trend is one that's not likely to keep rising once school starts back up, though economists don't expect it to go away completely. After all, kids will still be available to work after school, and the same principles apply here that apply now over the summer. They're going to enjoy getting that spending money, while having their other bills paid. So, they can buy more things for themselves or put that money away for college.
Many economists are actually very optimistic about what this could potentially do for the future of these kids. Since so many are going to have work experience under their belt, they will be more easily able to find jobs after graduating, and many of them will get on managerial tracks in fast food and retail, meaning that they could find some stable careers without having to go into hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt at universities. So, there's definitely a bright side here to all the teen jobs over the summer.
The thing that economists fear most with the teen hiring boom is that more and more of their parents remain on unemployment benefits. One potential result could be these teens being taxed a lot more as adults to cover this once they grow up. Though nobody knows for sure. All we know is that there are a lot of teens with a job this summer.