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Tuesday, May 29, 2012 11:26 AM

Competition for McJobs Hits Teens: High-School Students with Jobs Hits 20-Year Low

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High school and college kids typically get the jobs that are left over, that no one else really wants, such as working at McDonalds.

However, competition for any job is now so intense, that teens cannot find any job that no one else wants.

As a result of that increased competition, Number of high-school students with jobs hits 20-year low

The American job market is no place for students as the number of employed high schoolers has hit its lowest level in more than 20 years, according to new figures from the National Center for Education Statistics.

In 1990, 32 percent of high school students held jobs, versus just 16 percent now. Blame their elders.

“By definition, teenage workers get the jobs that are left over,” said Charles Hirschman, a sociology professor at the University of Washington who has studied and written about student employment. “When you can’t find someone else to bag your groceries or work construction, often teenagers are the labor force you can count on to pick up that slack for a low wage. But now, with the recession, everybody has moved down. Those jobs aren’t going to teenagers.”

Local McDonald’s managers, for example, are no longer forced to accept young workers who can show up after class. They now have the option to hire older employees with more experience and, in many cases, much more education.

“They think, ‘I can hire this old guy instead. He already knows how to work, so we don’t need to teach him,’ ” said Andrew Sum, director of Northeastern University's Center for Labor Market Studies.

The crunch is also hitting college students. In 2000, 52 percent of full-time college students worked. That number has now fallen to 40 percent, the National Center for Education Statistics reports.
Job Demographics

Please consider these thoughts I penned on May 1, 2008 (emphasis in italics added) Demographics of Jobless Claims
Structural Demographics Poor

Structural demographic effects imply that prospects in the full-time labor market will be poor for those over age 50-55 and workers under age 30. Teen and college-age employment could suffer a great deal from (1) a dramatic slowdown in discretionary spending and (2) part-time Boomer reentrants into the low-paying service sector; workers who will be competing with younger workers.

Ironically, older part-time workers remaining in or reentering the labor force will be cheaper to hire in many cases than younger workers. The reason is Boomers 65 and older will be covered by Medicare (as long as it lasts) and will not require as many benefits as will younger workers, especially those with families.

In effect, Boomers will be competing with their children and grandchildren for jobs that in many cases do not pay living wages.

Very few are considering demographics, a change in attitudes by consumers towards spending, a change in attitudes of banks to lend, and the ability of capital impaired banks to lend even if they want to.

A structural shift in consumption to savings or at least reduced consumption, is in store for boomers. Meanwhile job prospects are looking pretty grim for some time to come across the entire economic spectrum.
And so it is. Unfortunately it will stay that way for many years to come. Economists missed the boat on this one and still do even as it plays out as I suggested.

Because of student debt and low paying jobs, kids out of college are putting off raising families and buying homes. Headwinds on home prices are enormous.

Rather than buy cars they cannot afford, many kids tweet and send text messages.

Demographics, student debt, debt in general, and changing attitudes of youth about what is really important are huge deflationary forces that Bernanke is fighting.

Those expecting hyperinflation or even strong inflation out of this mess are simply not thinking clearly.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock
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