Teens Are Having Trouble Finding Summer Jobs, And Fewer Are Even Looking For Work

There is an increasing labor force problem not just with American adults, but also with American teenagers. Many teens these days are unable to find summer work, as many older Americans are often competing for those jobs that used to be entry-level work for first-timers. But even more concerning is the growing trend of teens not even looking for work.

Part of the issue is that many brick and mortar stores have closed in recent years due to the growth of online shopping. With fewer stores being open, there are fewer jobs available in those typical entry-level positions.

But even more concerning than just the seeming lack of work available for teens is the cultural attitudes about work at the age. Since more adults are taking these jobs now, there are fewer teenagers in them, and younger teens do not see their older peers working. That affects their ideas about work when they become an employable age.

"Teenagers are exquisitely sensitive to the social norms of their peers," an article in The Atlantic said. "If they see cool older teenagers scooping ice cream during their freshman summer, they'll really look forward to a job scooping ice cream during their sophomore summer. …That suggests -- although it cannot prove -- that summer jobs have lost cultural cachet, as the norm has shifted away from working."

The nature of work is changing, especially for teens. With adults settling for less, that leaves fewer options for young people. But there is a bright spot here. As an avid listener of the Dave Ramsey show, I've heard their discussions of the fact that today's teenagers are actually very entrepreneurial, with nearly half of them having a mind to start their own gig. That's good, and something to be encouraged.

Maybe such an arrangement could replace typical summer work, and change the face of how jobs are made and gotten in our future? Who knows what the future may hold, but like the old saying goes, every cloud has a silver lining.

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