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REPORT: Immigration is Depressing US Teen Employment Numbers

‘Whatever the reason, non-work is becoming the norm among teenagers as more and more of them sit idle each summer…’

American Teenagers Compete with Immigrants for Jobs
Photo by Samantha Jade Royds (CC)

(Ben Sellers, Liberty Headlines) Although Labor Department figures have brought good news on the unemployment front, a recent study says teens’ summer jobs continue to lag.

Statistics for May and June have included the lowest unemployment rate in 18 years, plummeting jobless rates for black and Hispanic Americans, and a record number leaving their jobs for new employment.

However, a report from the Center for Immigration Studies, using data from the Census Bureau’s Current Population Surveys, projected that the number of U.S.-born teens in the workforce would rise by only about 1 percent over 2017.

It expected only about 42 percent of teens to be in the workforce this summer, down about 20 percent from two decades ago.

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CIS said increasing immigration numbers play a large role as adult workers compete with adolescents or unskilled and temporary labor.

“Perhaps it is due to a willingness by immigrants to work for less or put up with more unpleasant working conditions” the report said. “It may also be due to immigrants’ more effective social networks for finding employment. Whatever the reason, non-work is becoming the norm among teenagers as more and more of them sit idle each summer.”

It noted similar declines across the board for black, white and Hispanic teens, as well as in comparisons of immigrant and U.S.-born teens.

However, it also found an inverse correlation between states’ immigration rates and teen employment, suggesting that the two were connected.

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The report from CIS also spoke extensively on the importance of work experience during teen years as it related to future employment experiences and wages.

“The impact of high school work experience on future economic attainment is significant eight years after terminating schooling,” it said. “Teens employed in high school earn more than teens who did not work in the first year after graduation, with wage differences tending to increase over time.”

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