Teens’ job risks

Posted on June 14, 2009

While the June 7 article Older workers muscling out teens for summer jobs accurately cited a rising minimum wage as a prime cause of high teen unemployment, it didn’t mention long-term problems it causes teens.

A Stanford University study found that youths who experienced long periods of unemployment were prone to negative long-term effects regarding future wages and employment. Research from the University of North Carolina found that unemployment for teens continues to adversely affect earnings for up to 10 years.

Not having a summer job takes more than just money away from teens. Those who are priced out of the job market by high minimum wages are also deprived of the invisible curriculum that comes from learning how to show up on time, report to a supervisor and work with others as part of a team. State and federal lawmakers should recognize that wage hikes hurt vulnerable workers such as teens, who will feel the negative effect for years to come.

KRISTEN LOPEZ EASTLICK, senior economic analyst, Employment Policies Institute, Washington, D.C.