There’s jobs for only 1 out of 3 California teens

by on July 22, 2010 · 9 comments

in Civil Rights, Culture, Economy, Labor

teen works fast foodBy Joanna Lin /California Watch / July 21, 2010

Legislation to extend unemployment benefits overcame a Republican filibuster in the Senate yesterday, putting more than 400,000 Californians a step closer to having their benefits checks reinstated.

But suspended checks are only part of the state’s unemployment woes: 34.5 percent of teen workers in the state were out of a job in June. That’s compared to 25.7 percent of teens nationwide and is nearly three times higher than the state’s overall unemployment rate.

Workers 16 to 19 years old face the highest rates of unemployment of any age group. Teen unemployment in California is more than double what it was in 2000, according to the state Employment Development Department. The EDD’s data on unemployment rates by age during the past 10 years can be seen here .

Young would-be workers face tough competition. According to the Economic Policy Institute, there are 5.6 job seekers for every current job opening.

“For the class of 2010, it will be one of the worst years to graduate high school or college since at least 1983 and possibly the worst since the end of World War II,” authors of an EPI report wrote in May. The report noted that since the start of the recession, the youth labor force – which includes workers age 16 to 24 – has contracted 5 percent, or by 1.1 million employees.

The figures reflect a notable shift in the American workforce: For the first time since at least 1948, employees old enough to retire outnumber their teenage counterparts, Bloomberg News reports. The number of workers over 65 averaged 6.63 million the first half of this year, compared to 5.85 million workers ages 16 to 19.

“Older workers need to replenish their 401(k) plans, so those who have jobs are clinging to them rather than retiring,” Alicia Munnell, director of the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, said in a telephone interview. Teenagers lose out because less-educated workers and those with shorter tenure are most vulnerable during a recession, she said.

Data analyzed by Bloomberg show that since 2000, jobs in the top categories for teens – food service, sales and office administration – have migrated to more workers 55 and older.

But competition from adults is not the only reason more teens are out of work today. The participation rate of teens in the summer workforce has been dropping during the past decade, from 51.7 percent 10 years ago to 32.9 percent in 2009, according to a report released in May by Bureau of Labor Statistics economist Teresa L. Morisi. More teens enrolled in summer school or taking taking unpaid internships could explain part of the decline, as could fewer federally funded summer jobs, Morisi said.

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

annagrace July 22, 2010 at 12:52 pm

It would be great to hear from any 16-19 year olds out there who read the OBRag. (???) I thought the local Workforce Partnership had applied for Federal Stimulus Funds which they would use for Hire a Youth programs…


Ian Rammelkamp July 23, 2010 at 6:07 pm

This is one of the unintended consequences of minimum wage laws.


Danny Morales July 23, 2010 at 6:19 pm


What does the class rule you advocate for also say about unemployment insurance,
social security, civil rights and health care? What about labor laws? The securities and exchange commission? The federal reserve? How about the duly constituted union of the Federated States of America? Just askin’ :>p


Ian Rammelkamp July 24, 2010 at 10:28 am

I don’t advocate class rule, I advocate individual rights, and freedoms.


BillRayDrums July 29, 2010 at 9:55 pm

I advocate personal advancement, something many in this society seem to have forgotten. It’s OK to be the fry guy at McD’s until one is 50…

And it’s OK for a country south of us to not take care of it’s own people, therefore sending those in search of a wage, any wage, northwards and for SoCal teens that pretty much is the death knell for a chance at a job. (see “fry guy at 50”)…not faulting those who come here… because if the shoe were on the other foot, damn straight I’d be doing the same thing.

The only jobs it seems there are for teens these days are either family related or technology based. Hey, years ago I knew a 17 year old who was building sites for he porn industry, and he had been doing it for a couple of years. He specialized in fetish porn; made BANK doing it. Of course whatever innocence he had was quickly lost upon seeing the proverbial donkey show, and that’s apparently acceptable by today’s standards.

At least he was smart enough to recognize it’s either do that gig, or compete with the droves for a job that pays less than $8/hr and have to compete with 50 year olds for said position. Exploitation of a minor you say?

Who is really, truly exploited? The 50 year old fry guy or the teen building schieze porn sites for $10k? It’s the chicken/egg continuum.


john July 30, 2010 at 1:34 am

so billy, the most important question is, of course…

links? got a crack for the password?
warez? teh 1337?

I had a donkey when I was a kid, we had 5 acres in the mountains in Tuolumne county and needed to keep the grass down. I was about 10 years old, for fun we’d wrestle him down to the ground and then he’d let you ride him. You ain’t lived until you wrestle a donkey!

But seriously, DO NOT google “mr. hands”. Okay?


Danny Morales July 24, 2010 at 8:37 pm


Fair enough. Then from the perspective of individual rights and freedoms what’s your opinion about unemployment insurance, healthcare, housing, education, social security and the national defense? May I add human and civil rights? The right of workers to organize as a class?- :>p


Ian Rammelkamp July 25, 2010 at 9:39 am

I think that individuals should have the right, but not a mandate from the government, to insure against unemployment if they desire; they should be able to buy health care, housing, education, and social security as they please, but not be forced to by the government.

National defense should be provided by the Federal Government, but that does not include multiple wars across the world, and soldiers stationed just about everywhere.

If an individual’s human or civil rights are being violated, the government should assist the individual in rectifying the violation.

Workers should have the right to organize as they please to implement their collective will, but business owners should have the right to hire, and fire who they please, as they see fit for their business.


john July 30, 2010 at 1:47 am

Ah, if only it were so simple.

“business owners should have the right to hire, and fire who they please, as they see fit for their business.”

this one in particular seems fair on the surface, yet brings up the qualifiers, “for whatever reason including none at all?”


“to insure against unemployment if they desire; they should be able to buy health care, housing, education, and social security as they please, but not be forced to by the government.”

What if all that were voluntary and significant numbers of people did not participate? Do we make it mandantory for the gov’t to clean up the rotting cadavers of those who did not buy health care and social security….. or shall we make it voluntary for those who are bothered by the stench of them in front of their oppulent homes to pay for their removal?

You needn’t feel obligated to apply effort to a serious answer, just think about it.

It could be worse. I could have said “DO NOT google Mr Hands”


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