New survey: Teens face 24.1% unemployment rate

By: Newscenter 16 staff Email
By: Newscenter 16 staff Email

WASHINGTON, D.C. – In preparation for summer 2013, the Employment Policies Institute (EPI) released a new analysis highlighting the nation's staggeringly high 24.1 percent teen unemployment rate. Teen unemployment has exceeded 20 percent for over four and a half years—a fact that calls into question the wisdom of passing additional minimum wage increases that would price more teens out of the entry-level experience they need.
EPI has also released updated state-by-state teen unemployment figures, which provide some geographic perspective on the teen unemployment crisis.

Michael Saltsman, research director at the Employment Policies Institute, released the following statement: "Despite some modest improvements, the nation’s teens are still on track to suffer through their fifth consecutive summer of high unemployment and difficult job prospects. As a result, many will miss out on the valuable career experience that comes from entry-level jobs."

This teen unemployment crisis should serve as a warning to President Obama, Senator Harkin, Representative Miller, and other federal and state legislators who want to raise the minimum wage. Economic research from Miami and Trinity University found losses of over 114,000 teen jobs following the last federal minimum wage increase between 2007 and 2009.

Summer jobs are the first rung on the employment ladder for most teenagers. Research also shows that part-time employment has a positive effect on future career earnings. Rather than keep these teens on the couch this summer, the President and similarly-minded legislators should focus on lowering the cost of entry-level employment, not raising it through a minimum wage hike.

According to EPI’s state-by-state breakdown, the worst 15 states for teen unemployment are as follows:

Rank State Teen Unemployment Rate

1 South Carolina 33.2%
2 California 33.1%
3 Georgia 30.6%
4 Arkansas 28.9%
5 Illinois 28.6%
6 Washington 27.9%
7 Arizona 27.2%
8 Oregon 26.6%
9 New Jersey 26.5%
9 Colorado 26.5%
10 Virginia 26.2%
11 North Carolina 26.0%
12 Rhode Island 25.6%
12 Nevada 25.6%
12 New York 25.6%

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