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Nathan Jarman

Nathan Cole

English 2010

1 May 2017

Unemployment Among Teens and Young Adults

The world that was live in today is a world in which the possession of money and resources is a

necessary as well as a fundamental part of living comfortably. Most commonly, the means by

which an individual obtains money and resources is through employment (by an institution).

Through employment at any given institution an individual is able to receive money and or

resources as compensation for their time and energy spent working for the institution. Once

money and resources are received, an individual may choose how to spend or use what they have

earned. For example, a person my choose to use the money or resources they have earned to pay

for the needs of basic living, purchase items of luxury, seek an education for themselves, or

provide for their own familys needs.

According to rules, regulations, and laws set in place by the United States Department of Labor

(USDL) an individual is not allowed legally to work for an institution until they reach the age of

14. The USDL also states that until a person is 16 years old the number of hours they are allowed

to work is limited (USDL). One would assume that turning 14 and being able to get a job would

be an exciting time in the life of the average teenager. However, statistics show in a news release

made by the USDL show that only 53.2% of young adults, 16-24 years of age, were employed
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during the summer of 2016. Typically, due to summer vacation and the number of graduates

entering the workforce, the summer months are a peak of employment for young people. So

why did unemployment raise from April to June in the year 2016 versus the increase in

employment in 2015 during the same period of time? (U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Its no secret that some people just don't have the time for a job. Occasionally a young person

may need to tend to a sick family member, supervise younger siblings, or they may be involved

in an extracurricular activity such as an internship that would keep them from having a part time

job. Individuals that can attribute lack of time as an excuse for being unemployed however only

make up for a small percent of the nations population of young people. It is also no secret that

finding reasonable and stable employment these days is no easy task. Finding a job can be

difficult for nearly any individual, whether young or not. It is understandable that young people

my experience a harder time finding a job simply due to their lack of experience and education.

However, lack of experience or education is in no way a solid excuse for not being able to find

some sort of simple entry level position at perhaps a fast food restaurant or any other given

institution infamous for hiring young people.

The lack of participation in the workforce by youth and young adults can not be blamed on a

shortage of jobs. In a report released January 2014 by the United States Bureau of Labor

Statistics shows a decrease in the amount of young people in the workforce and a nearly

equivalent increase of individuals 55-75+ entering the workforce (U.S. Bureau of Labor

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In an article titled Life on $7.50 an hour published November 2003 by The New York Times it

tells the story of Mr Shoy, a resident of Queens, New York. Mr. Shoy is one of the thousands of

Americans working multiple minimum wage paying jobs just so he can keep the lights on. After

working all day delivering pizza and working for KFC Mr. Shoy is able to sleep for

approximately four hours till he has to begin his night job as a forklift operator at JFK

International Airport. On top of all of that, Mr. Shoy is fifty eight years old. The article published

by The New York Times goes on to explain that Mr. Shoy is not the only one to find himself in

such a seemingly hopeless situation. The days of seeing high schoolers flipping burgers is

coming to an end as thirty one percent of fast food workers have already attended or are

attending college and an additional twenty six percent are parents raising young children (Fuer).
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Scenes from Mr. Shoys shift as a fast-food deliveryman.Credit Michael Appleton for The New
York Times

There are many different reasons as to why so many millennials are stepping down and why so

many older aged individuals are stepping up. Several sources online give reasons such as

entitlement, laziness, and a sense of pride as to why young people are not looking for, obtaining,

and keeping a stable job. (Levin)

It is imperative that young people see and recognize their individual importance in society. It

absolutely is the job of adults to mentor, provide for, and tend to the needs of children. However,

when children aren't children anymore it is important that they are able to in some small way

begin to provide for themselves and learn the value of work. If young people are able to find

within themselves a certain level of tenacity they can in a very real sense beat the odds and
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obtain some sort of stable employment which will allow them to move up in society which, over

time, will eliminate the need for individuals such as Mr. Shoy who find themselves working

three jobs at the age of fifty eight. Establishing a sense of pride in a job well done within this

generation, as well as the next, is going to be perhaps one of the most important things anyone

can do to help out not only the community but society as well.
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Works Cited

Bureau of Labor Statistics. News Release. United States Department of Labor, 17 Aug. 2016,


Department of Labor, United States. Age Requirements,


Drake, Bruce. Number of Older Americans in the Work Force is on the Rise.


Fuer, Alan. Life on $7.25 an Hour. The New York Times, NY/Region, 28 Nov, 2013


Levin, Micael. Want to get work done? don't hire a millennial business owner says.
NYdailynews, lifestyle, 11 Apr. 2016.