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Source: Brookings Institution

Source: Brookings Institution


Fewer teens have jobs.

The Brookings Institution found only 26 percent of 16 to 19-year-olds in the U.S. were employed in 2011, compared to 45 percent in 2000.

This trend played out in Rochester, though our metro is doing better than much of the country in getting teens into jobs. The graph above shows teen employment dropped from 46.7 percent to 33 percent.

Brookings found white teens from higher income households were more likely to be employed. Teens with more education and work experience were more likely to have jobs.  Metros with higher overall employment and a large number of high school dropouts have lower teen employment. Teen employment is important because it helps workers increase future earnings and employment.

Brookings calls the group of teens most impacted by not working “disconnected youth.” They are not enrolled in school and do not have jobs. The graph below tells us how many disconnected youth and young adults are in Rochester. On that measurement, Rochester doesn’t fare as well. Nearly 14,000 16-24 year-olds in our region fall into this category.


brookings 2

Source: Brookings Institution


Brain Drain?

Employment of young adults also took a hit across the country. In 2000, 72 percent of 20-24-year-olds had jobs in the U.S. In 2011, 60 percent were employed. Those with college degrees were more likely to have jobs.

In Rochester, young adult employment had a more modest dip, dropping from 70.4 to 67.4 percent. Rochester ranked 34th out of 100 metros in terms of young adult employment, counteracting the notion of a “brain drain.” Syracuse had one of the worst young adult employment rates in the country – 56.7 percent.

Brookings has a number of recommendations to better connect youth and jobs, especially for non-college bound graduates.

(Read about my experience working at Wegmans as a teenager.)


Links of the Day:


– There’s really no excuse for government financial data, such as checkbook registers, not to be online.

Skepticism of Kodak’s new CEO.

– Upstate New York ducks are suffering from unprecedented starvation.

– A Rochester Institute of Technology professor asks if disseminating misinformation about climate change is criminal.

– Live-tweeting scanner traffic is a “thing” now, but there are many reasons to be cautious with this information.

– I do not understand the concern some people have about taking pictures of children in public places.

This requires a tissue…or two.




– Mt. Read Boulevard could get a major makeover.

– A consultant’s report paints a troubling picture of Monroe High School.

10 Responses to Fewer Teens Have Jobs

  1. Will a higher minimum wage help or hurt this scenario of unemployed youth?

  2. March 16, 2014 at 1:56 pm James Simons responds:

    A lot of the blame belongs at the top with corporations. Even though they are pulling in record profits, they are not creating enough jobs or raising pay to where it should be. So you now have more adults forced to work in the service industry to make ends meet. They are taking away the jobs that would normally go to teenagers.

  3. Our planned conversion to a ‘service economy’ has resulted in adults taking the younger people’s jobs. I don’t remeber so many lawn maintenance companies a couple of decades ago. As you mention,jobs teenagers could have had a generation ago are now being done by desperate adults. Well played, finacial elites. It still doesn’t let you off the hook. You want the protection of our laws and justice system to enforce your contracts, cough up the money to employ the teens in public works projects for the summer.

  4. March 16, 2014 at 2:26 pm Mittens responds:

    If Jeff Clarke moves Kodak out of Rochester, we riot in the streets.

  5. March 16, 2014 at 2:29 pm Bob Lewis responds:

    I have to wonder is if part of the cause is the rise of sports culture. Kids who are on sports teams are expected to participate 6 days per week. There really is no off season for any sport. I think some of the kids who would be working simply spend all of their time in sports activities.

  6. March 16, 2014 at 5:03 pm Orielly responds:

    minimum wage increases reduce the number of lower paying jobs. There is no doubt about this.
    10 or 20yrs ago lots of kids had paper routes. Most cities have only one paper today and readership is way low and adults deliver the paper in cars, if you get the paper.
    Less people in the city who can and want part time jobs and less or NO- jobs in the city associated with shopping/retail. Unlike years ago.
    After school recreation programs are a thing of the past, no longer jobs for that segment.
    Corner grocery stores long gone.
    There are 1000s of reasons for less minimum wage jobs.

    High Gas prices are written off as not a concern.. thats called the new norm. But with lower paying jobs? We have an issue?

    But Corp American is not at fault. They hire when they need to— not to make jobs for society. They pay what the market will bare and people will take what they pay.

    But above all, anti business high taxes and regulations drive business to move and make things elsewhere. And there fare less jobs to be had and then less competition for workers. SO pay can and does stay low.

    Unless you work for the government or run a non profit. Then you make your high pay on the backs of the people with lower paying jobs … they are called taxpayers.

  7. Teen jobs…..I firmly believe that anyone who WANTS to work will be able to find a job. It takes an effort to search out job openings. It takes an effort to go and apply. It takes an effort to be “hiring worthy”. From my observations and personal knowledge, I think many teens are busy with school activities and are not able to commit to a employers work schedule demands. I also believe many teens are not interested in working when they see the benefits available for “the poor and disadvantaged”. I don’t use statistics, I use observations. Until we return to the concept of working for a living, this trend will continue. Working at fast food, sub shops, pizza shops, etc. is a good and honorable place to start and learn what earning a paycheck is all about. Just my thoughts….

  8. Pingback: What Brain Drain? » The Rochesterian

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