New Ad Addresses Teen Employment Crisis

Ad cites new data showing a significant drop in teens from the workforce
  • Publication Date: September 2008

  • Topics: Minimum Wage, Teen Unemployment

For Immediate Release
September 9, 2008
For More Information Contact:
Tim Miller 202.463.7650

New Ad Addresses Teen Employment Crisis
Ad cites new data showing a significant drop in teens from the workforce

WASHINGTON D.C. – Today, the Employment Policies Institute (EPI) unveiled a radio advertisement detailing the high levels of unemployment among American teens. This ad comes on the heels of a new EPI analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics data showing that since the 2007 federal minimum wage increase 238,000 teen jobs have disappeared from the United States workforce.

Additionally, EPI launched radio ads in 6 states across the nation which discuss new data on the teen employment crisis, sourced by an analysis of the Current Population Survey (CPS). These ads address the high summer unemployment levels for teens in Alabama, Arizona, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, and Tennessee.

EPI’s radio ad features two mothers discussing their teenage sons’ failure to find a job this past summer. The text is as follows:

Mom 1: I’m so happy school has started. Matthew has been lying around the house all summer.

Mom 2: So has my Brandon. He looked everywhere for a summer job but nobody seemed to be hiring.

Mom 1: We had the same problem. Matt walked around at the mall and at restaurants—he even tried getting a job doing yard work for the city. There was nothing available for kids.

Mom 2: The worst part is that they are playing video games instead of getting the experience we had when we were teens—earning a paycheck, having responsibility, and working with others.

Male VO: In 2007, the United States Congress passed a measure that raised the minimum wage by 41 percent. Since then, the teen unemployment rate has shot up 33% percent. This was the worst summer since World War II for teens looking to find a job. When minimum wages for unskilled work increase dramatically in a weak economy the first people to lose are the ones we were intending to help. For more information go to www.minimumwage.com.

Mom 1: If he doesn’t get off the couch next summer, I don’t know what I’ll do.

One of the prime reasons for this drastic employment drought is the mandated wage hikes that policy makers have forced on local businesses. A recent study from the University of California at Irvine estimates that for every 10 percent increase in the minimum wage, employment for young black teenagers could fall by 8.4 percent. These figures have borne out nationally, as CPS’s seasonally-adjusted data shows a 33 percent jump in teen unemployment followed a 41 percent increase in the minimum wage.

“Decades of economic research clearly demonstrate that minimum wage hikes result in job loss for the most vulnerable members of society,” said Rick Berman, Executive Director of the Employment Policies Institute. “The unintended consequence of the federal minimum wage hike is pricing some employees out of the workforce, and based on the new unemployment data, it’s teens who are getting hit the hardest.”

“A summer job for a teen is much more than a paycheck; it’s a chance to gain important skills and learn the ‘invisible curriculum’ that comes from having a job, answering to a boss, and dealing with co-workers. Unfortunately many teens didn’t have that opportunity this summer, thanks to legislators who supported job-killing minimum wage hikes,” Berman concluded.