The decline and fall of summer jobs for teens

One of the many social transformations America is undergoing is the ending of the custom of teenagers working summer jobs. A generation ago, most teens had this experience, but today, not so much. Shelby Travis writes:

According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, just a generation ago, some 75 percent of teens had a summer job but now that number is down around 40 percent for 16-to-19-year-olds, the continuation of a decades-long trend.

As far as I am concerned, this is a problem. I learned discipline and motivation from my summer jobs. The principal lesson was that manual labor sucks, and that no matter what, I had to qualify myself for work that was less mind-numbing.

The article by Mr. Travis mentions the following as reasons for the decline in teen summer jobs:

The financial website NerdWallet says the reason behind the decline is due in part to the kind of jobs available for teens shrinking as older workers are taking fast food and retail store jobs amid the loss of low-skilled factory jobs.

Another factor is that more students are going to summer school, involved in extracurricular activities and volunteering.

However, the outplacement firm Challenger, Gray and Christmas saying the number of teens who just don't want to work is steadily increasing, partly because some don't want to work in minimum-wage jobs.

Left unmentioned is the arrival of millions of illegal aliens willing to do the sort of work teens traditionally did: lawn-mowing, yard maintenance, farm labor, and other unskilled jobs.

Also unmentioned is the rise of fears of legal liability in  the form of lawsuits and government regulations.

Our children no longer experience the rigors of the work force in their formative years.  Maybe their extracurricular activities are equally valuable, and maybe they will find a work ethic later.

But good or bad, this is a major change in the way we socialize our children. The bottom rung of the job ladder is disappearing.

Hat tip: Armstrong and Getty

One of the many social transformations America is undergoing is the ending of the custom of teenagers working summer jobs. A generation ago, most teens had this experience, but today, not so much. Shelby Travis writes:

According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, just a generation ago, some 75 percent of teens had a summer job but now that number is down around 40 percent for 16-to-19-year-olds, the continuation of a decades-long trend.

As far as I am concerned, this is a problem. I learned discipline and motivation from my summer jobs. The principal lesson was that manual labor sucks, and that no matter what, I had to qualify myself for work that was less mind-numbing.

The article by Mr. Travis mentions the following as reasons for the decline in teen summer jobs:

The financial website NerdWallet says the reason behind the decline is due in part to the kind of jobs available for teens shrinking as older workers are taking fast food and retail store jobs amid the loss of low-skilled factory jobs.

Another factor is that more students are going to summer school, involved in extracurricular activities and volunteering.

However, the outplacement firm Challenger, Gray and Christmas saying the number of teens who just don't want to work is steadily increasing, partly because some don't want to work in minimum-wage jobs.

Left unmentioned is the arrival of millions of illegal aliens willing to do the sort of work teens traditionally did: lawn-mowing, yard maintenance, farm labor, and other unskilled jobs.

Also unmentioned is the rise of fears of legal liability in  the form of lawsuits and government regulations.

Our children no longer experience the rigors of the work force in their formative years.  Maybe their extracurricular activities are equally valuable, and maybe they will find a work ethic later.

But good or bad, this is a major change in the way we socialize our children. The bottom rung of the job ladder is disappearing.

Hat tip: Armstrong and Getty

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