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Why Aren’t More Teens Working?

The percentage of teenagers who are working in America is abysmally low. In the 1950s, almost half of teenagers were working. That work rate slid slightly in the 40 percent to 45 percent range when baby boomers and Gen Xers were teens in the 1970s, and 1980s.

That labor force participation rate crashed with the spoiled generation – i.e., millennials – whose work rate as teenagers fell to as low as 28%. In other words, only a little more than half as many millennials worked as teens as previous generations. (Now in their late 20s and 30s, they are insisting on the right to “work” at home, or in offices with transgender bathrooms.)

More recently, there has been a slight tick-up in teen work rates to one in three among Gen Z teens – but even this is a pitifully low rate.

Why does this matter? Because almost every study on wages and career success shows that the earlier an individual starts to work and learn job skills, the higher their earnings and career trajectory. Instead of working and learning a work ethic, today’s teens are playing computer games or attending climate change rallies.

The villains in this story aren’t the kids. It’s their baby boomer parents (and you know who you are!) who pamper their teens and act as if requiring their sons and daughters to get a job would be a human rights violation. The parents aren’t doing their kids any favors.

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