Teenage Unemployment In USA

We all know that the economy was largely gloomy, with a slowdown. Teens and students are bearing high tuition prices and thus, are in dire need of finding alternate sources of income. Usually, teens manage to find work in restaurant chains and the likes but are mostly unappreciated for the work they do and are also underpaid. Yet, there’s always a  silver-lining to the entire scenario.

American workers are not getting a boost to their paychecks even though the unemployment rate has steadily decreased and has nearly converted to full-time employment. Employers are able to reduce the bargaining power of prospective employees because of an ever increasing supply of educated labor. This makes it easier to fire troublemakers who demand raises, better working conditions and incentives to stay productive.

Unemployed Teens in USA

Labor Force

The overall growth rate for the population is getting back on track. However, college graduates are finding it difficult to find a permanent position in the job market today, that is because the unemployment rate for teenagers has been the highest ever in over 20 years. From $7.25 to $10 an hour can barely make the ends meet for most of the teens, given the standards of living today. So with such a meager pay it’s like you’re working to be broke. Even underemployment rate has steadily increased over the years clearly indicating the dissent among teens. It is good to know that we have a couple of free tools to calculate benefits of unemployment and to compare unemployment benefits by state. Now, how handy is that!

Generally, the youth labor force surges sharply between April and July each year. Many teens search for or take summer jobs while graduates make an entry looking for permanent positions. Last summer, the youth labor force grew by 2.7 million. This is a positive trend, given the circumstances!

The unemployment rate has reached a 7 year low of 4.9%. But for teens of ages 16 to 19 years the unemployment rate is very high at 16%. This alone accounts for over a million youths in the country!

No wonder, more parents are seeing their adult kids moving back to the basement. And many of the parents are facing this social stigma of teens being holed up and the topic is slowly gaining wider acceptance from the larger sections of our society.

According to Organization for Economic Co-operation and development (OECD), a whopping 26 million young people are not employed in the developed world. Youth unemployment is a real problem and it is poised to cost the US economy of over $18 billion. Add to that, the damage of rising crimes and deterioration of our social fabric being committed by misguided teens. It’s definitely not the right path to walk on for all of us.

Remedial Actions

Considering the US global market position since the economic collapse in 2008, US has always stood on a precarious spot, sensitive to minor changes. But we may yet be living at one of the most prosperous times – for all age groups alike. So it shouldn’t be a surprise to witness people, including private individuals and NGOs taking action into seeing the annoyance caused by Teenage Unemployment driven beneath the mud. That the actions have seen considerable success can be vouched for by its mention in the recent Democratic National Convention (DNC). In a moment of pride for the community who have strived for $ 15 pay a day, the Democratic Party announced that they have added support to the cause of $15 pay a day to their party platform. With one of the most prominent parties backing the move to make $ 15 as the minimum pay speaks volumes in terms of how far we have come in this fight. A national institution such as this can boost the presence of more NGOs in many states where the protests haven’t gathered any momentum. An NGO which closely follows the causes of Teenage Unemployment all over America is the “FightFor15”, an organization which individually can be attributed the credit of putting the cause of social evil of Teenage unemployment on the national map. With its proactiveness and regularly protests, organized all over the country, it has done marvels in bringing the unaware and ignorant to the streets, to rightfully demand what’s theirs.

Another milestone to this cause, the speech of Rev. Dr. William Barber II, also the man behind the Moral Monday Movement at the Democratic National Convention is not to be forgotten. He resounded the voice of the stifled working class through the following words, “I say to you tonight, there are some issues that are not left versus right, liberal versus conservative, they are right versus wrong…. When we fight for Fight For 15 and a union, and universal health care, and public education and immigrant rights, and LGBT rights, we are reviving the heart of our democracy.”

Many workers consent to the fact that more than 10 million are on their way into realizing the $15 pay per day. While the movement held and organized by the NGO, Fight for 15 has been successful mostly in New York, California, Seattle and Pittsburgh, while they vow to keep the fight running till all the workers in the country get their $ 15 pay.  


The stagnant economy needs to be churned again. Turning the tide in our favor to suit our interests can only be made possible by betting on the zeal of the youth. The teens of today must come up with innovative ways to find work. If there’s no work then do come up with ideas to create work. Start blogging, take tuitions to high school students, conduct workshops on hobbies like stargazing, develop mobile apps using open source projects like Python. Hustle, instead of cribbing about the sorry state of being unemployed.

In the other half, the big corporations and industry experts should impart world-class training and properly mold the teens to deal with the demands of the industry. Then, we can not only hope for a better tomorrow but provide a better one. Get motivated by the likes of Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg and strive harder than your odds to claim glory! The world needs a center for the New American Dream and we have to live up to expectations and deliver the same!


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