Drop in Summer Work for Teenagers Linked to Increased Immigration

With a resume in hand, Cameron Hinojosa heads into the Family Clothes store looking for work / AP


The rise of low-skill immigration in recent decades, combined with other factors, has reduced the ability of teenagers to get summer jobs, according to the Atlantic.

"In the summer of 1978, 60 percent of teens were working or looking for work," the Atlantic‘s Derek Thompson recently wrote. "Last summer, just 35 percent were."

One reason why teens work less today is that immigrants fill more jobs, such as restaurant servers and retail salespeople, while experienced American workers also compete for these positions.

"The rise of low-skill immigration in the last few decades has created more competition for exactly the sort of jobs that teenagers used to do, like grocery-store cashiers, restaurant servers, and retail salespeople," the Atlantic reported. "Many of the jobs that teenagers used to do no longer exist; they've gone to older Americans and new immigrants."

Increased minimum wage has also reduced the likelihood that companies will employ inexperienced seasonal workers, while teenagers' focus on summer classes has contributed to the downturn in their workforce participation.

Federal Reserve statistical analyses have also linked the decrease in American teenage workers to increased immigration.

A 2012 research abstract by a member of the Federal Reserve's board of governors stated that "the increase in the population of less educated immigrants has had a considerably more negative effect on employment outcomes for native youth than for native adults."

Ben Steverman of Bloomberg has pointed out the benefits of summer work for young people, which used to be a more common part of growing up.

"A summer job can help teenagers grow up as it expands their experience beyond school and home," Steverman wrote. "Working teens learn how to manage money, deal with bosses, and get along with co-workers of all ages."

Paul Crookston

Paul Crookston   Email Paul | Full Bio | RSS
Paul Crookston is a media analyst with the Washington Free Beacon. He was previously a Collegiate Network fellow at National Review. A 2016 graduate of Gordon College in Wenham, Mass., he served as the managing editor of the Tartan campus newspaper. He is originally from Tampa, Fla., but he still roots for Dad’s Ohio teams. His Twitter handle is @P_Crookston. He can be reached at crookston@freebeacon.com.

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