Read the graph jackass! That graph is steeper than a ski...
America’s next generation of workers has already started punching in. New data from the Labor Department reveals that US teenagers today are increasingly picking up part-time jobs, with 37% of 16-19 year-olds either being employed or seeking employment last year — the highest proportion since 2009.
Following more than 4 decades of decline in teen employment, current high-schoolers appear to have shifted cultural norms by seeking out after-school and summer jobs since the pandemic. Despite the employment-to-population ratio for this demographic sinking to a historic low of 20.1% in April 2020, the figure has steadily grown in the intervening months, up to 32.6% at the end of 2023.
School of life
While the labor force participation rate of 16-19 year-olds had been in steep decline from the turn of the millennium until the early 2010s, Gen Z has of late become a powerhouse in the world of work. By filling entry-level positions in a wealth of new hospitality and retail job vacancies, the teen unemployment rate recently dropped to a 70-year low.
Interestingly, Atlanta Fed data cited by the Washington Post also shows that young workers are seeing the most dramatic relative pay rises of any age group in the US: in December, the average wage growth for 16-24 year-olds (9.8%) was more than double the rise for workers aged 55+ (4.2%).