New Data: Teen Unemployment Tops 30 Percent in Five States and D.C. in 2011
National Average Above 24 Percent for Third Year in a Row
Today, the Employment Policies Institute (EPI) responded to new Bureau of Labor Statistics data showing that teen unemployment averaged 24.4 percent in 2011, with 5 states and the District of Columbia facing averages above 30 percent.
“This country’s teens are facing a historically bad labor market,” said Michael Saltsman, research fellow at EPI. “Unfortunately, it’s not just a product of the recession—minimum wage mandates at the state and federal level are keeping teens out of work.”
“Eight bills to increase the minimum wage have been introduced on the state level so far in 2012, and even GOP Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney has expressed support for wage hikes,” Saltsman continued. “These misguided initiatives don’t bode well for our country’s young job seekers.”
Decades of economic research confirm that mandated labor cost increases reduce hours and employment for the least-skilled and least-experienced. A recent study from economists at Miami University and Trinity University found that over 114,000 fewer teens were employed as a result of the 40 percent increase in the federal minimum wage between 2007 and 2009.
Saltsman concluded: “Our nation’s young people are in desperate need of the experience and earning potential that entry-level jobs provide. Instead of putting up new barriers to employment, policymakers at the state and federal level should make it easier for employers to hire them.”
Top 15 States for Teen Unemployment, 2011
District of Columbia
3. North Carolina
9. Rhode Island
12. West Virginia
The Employment Policies Institute, www.epionline.org, is a non-profit research organization dedicated to studying public policy issues surrounding employment growth. In particular, EPI focuses on issues that affect entry-level employment.