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Comments about ‘U.S. risks losing generation of workers with teen unemployment’

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Published: Wednesday, July 18 2012 12:44 a.m. MDT

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anti-liar
Salt Lake City, UT

Good ideas, but no discussion of teen and young adult unemployment can be complete without acknowledging the impact illegal immigration and illegal hiring of cheap, illegal-alien labor has had on teen and young adult employment prospects.

SEY
Sandy, UT

The biggest obstacle to teen employment is not illegal-alien labor. It's minimum wage and anti-internship laws. Teens can't gain experience because often they're not worth much to employers to begin with. It's a Catch-22.

Illegal aliens often get paid "under the table" so employers can hire them for less than minimum wage. That's why they get those jobs over teens. Get rid of minimum wage laws and you'll see youth gaining valuable experience to the point that they'll soon be making a decent wage.

lost in DC
West Jordan, UT

No, we cannot have ANY unemployed teenagers!

If we did, WHY would BO want to issue work permits to 800,000 young illegal aliens?

I think anti-liar and SEY have pointed out two significant reasons why we have high unemployment among teenagers - illegals and minimum wage laws

Kalindra
Salt Lake City, Utah

@ SEY: Here is a situation for you: Employer has 3 applicants. No matter which applicant he hires, he is going to pay the same amount. With no minimum wage, that amount can be as little as the employer wants.

We will make applicant 1 your alleged illegal immigrant.
Applicant 2 is your standard teenager - 16 or 17, looking for first job.
Applicant 3 is an older individual, skilled, good work history, experience.

Which one do you think the employer is going to hire?

Removing minimum wage is not going to convince an employer to hire a less skilled applicant when there is a more skilled applicant wanting the same job for the same money - it just makes it cheaper for the employer to get skilled help.

Some unethical employers will cheat the system and society by hiring under the counter. This is an argument for increasing efforts to locate and punish those employers - it is not an argument to reward that negative behavior by allowing them legal protections for taking advantage of their employees.

Sure with no minimum wage they may hire grandpa for $0.50 instead of an illegal immigrant - but is that really what we want?

BoomerJeff
Saint George, UT

All I know is that the jobs illegal aliens are doing now, are the jobs all us teenagers did when I was young in the 60s and 70s (fast food, grocery, landscaping, cleaning, babysitting, construction, etc.) IF we enforced our immigration laws, that would free up atleast 12 million jobs for our teenages to make money. They would learn about hard work and ethics, and it would motivate them to get an education so they wouldn't have to spend a lifetime at those types of jobs. Instead, we are committing suicide as a nation. I'm glad I'm old!

Hutterite
American Fork, UT

I suspect more than a modest percentage of currently unemployed teens are in such a position because they don't want to work. They certainly don't want the landscaping or babysitting or burger joint jobs their predecessors did at their age. They're looking for the job that enables the inner slacker or makes use of their extensive gaming skills. As an employer I certainly see this. The ones worth hiring are usually working.

RRB
SLC, UT

It's their fault. It's never the business owner hiring cheap labors fault.

lost in DC
West Jordan, UT

Kalindra,
actually there used to be a lower minimum wage for teenagers.

I cannot speak for SEY, but I do not support the complete removal of the minimum wage, just having an age adjustment. Plenty of teenagers would still be willing to work for $6.50 an hour. It is not unprecedented to have varying minimum wages - the minimum wage for waiters is, considerably lower than the standard minimum wage.

Kalindra
Salt Lake City, Utah

@ lost in DC: The minimum wage for those who work for tips is lower than the minimum wage for those who do not work for tips on the assumption that tips will make up the difference. If the employee does not make enough in tips to make up the difference, the employer must make it up - this is why bad waitstaff don't have jobs for long.

A lower minimum wage for teens (most proposals want the range to be 16 - 19) might help solve the problem - but it might raise a few more. The biggest problems would be age discrimination and the associated hiring/firing patterns. If I am 19 years and 11 months, I am less likely to get hired than someone who is 17 or 18 - even if I am better qualified. And when the 17 year old reaches 20, he is likely to be fired.

In some European countries they do something similar when teenagers/young adults are hired they are paid a reduced rate for the first two years - the counter to that is that at the end of those two years, the company cannot fire the individual on bring on another lower-wage employee.

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