Teen unemployment has long-term effects

Posted on May 24, 2009

Wednesday’s article “Teens seeking summer jobs might face challenge,” acknowledged the high unemployment rate for teens, but failed to mention the negative long-term problems these skyrocketing unemployment rates cause for teens.

A study out of Stanford University found that people who experienced especially long periods of unemployment as youths were particularly prone to negative long-term effects on future wages and employment. And research from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, found that unemployment for teens continues to adversely affect earnings for as long as 10 years.

Not having a summer job takes more than just money away from teens. Young people 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 report to a supervisor, show up on time, and work with other people as part of a team. State and federal lawmakers should recognize “feel good” wage hikes hurt vulnerable workers like teens, and they will feel the negative impact for years to come.

Kristen Lopez Eastlick, Washington, D.C., Senior Economic Analyst, Employment Policies Institute