Why jobless teens may have more to blame than the recession
- May 26, 2010
- David Neumark, economics professor, is quoted in U.S. News & World Report May 26, 2010
From U.S. News & World Report:
As summer rolls around, lawmakers in Washington are preparing to vote on a jobs bill that would include $1 billion for summer jobs for teens. Much of the urgency for the program stems from the private-sector plunge in summer jobs for teenagers over the past few years. It's no secret that the recession walloped teens' jobs as much as it did their parents. But some economists find the clamor for public jobs programs a little ironic, given last year's mid-recession minimum wage increase, which may have reduced teen employment even beyond the recessionary drop. Before the minimum wage jumped to $7.25 an hour last summer, University of California, Irvine economist David Neumark estimated that it would lead to an additional 300,000 job losses for teens and young adults. The 2009 wage increase was set in motion in a better labor market in May 2007, when Congress voted to boost the minimum from $5.15 an hour to $7.25 an hour over the course of the next two years. It's hard to parse the jobs lost because of the recession and those lost because of the minimum wage increase — there's no direct evaluation of the impact of the wage increase yet — but it's likely that raising the wage floor contributed to the record-high teen unemployment rates, Neumark says. "Almost everyone accepts that minimum wages decrease employment or likely increase unemployment of the least-skilled," he says. Neumark advocated for delaying last year's increase.
For the full story, please visit http://www.usnews.com/money/careers/articles/2010/05/26/why-jobless-teen....