Teen Unemployment

12 01 2010

In the latest issue of Time magazine there is an interesting article about the greatest sufferers of the economy and unemployment.  The greatest victim, per the article, is the teenage youth of our country.  I couldn’t agree less.  While I recognize the need for teenagers to have that first job, make the money for their wants and to experience the grown up world of budgeting – I would hardly say that a child is damaged by the lack of those experiences.  A parent can supplement those experiences by involving their child in the household budget process.  Show the child the bills, the income, the debts, the necessities and get them involved in learning the art of balancing money.

As a child, I didn’t have my first job until I was 17.  It was a good job for good employers with crappy pay and no benefits, but I took the job for a time filler, not to make money and spend it.  And after high school, I can imagine that if I had not been able to pay bills with my income and my husband’s I would likely have done what I am doing now – go to college for a better opportunity.  And, in defense of the article, they do reference that with the lack of jobs for unskilled youth, the school enrollment rate for 16-to-19-year-olds has risen to 83%, up from 78% in the mid-1990s. And 1.7 million high school students now take advanced-placement courses, three times the number who participated in them a decade and a half ago. With more and more high school grads out of work, teens are seeing a greater value in a college education.1

The real victims continue to be the unemployed of our country, no matter their age.  When you come to depend on your job for your livelihood, being robbed of that job victimizes you.  Whether you are 68 and scraping by on savings and part time earnings from a greeter position at a local department store; or you’re 32 with a mortgage, kids, car payment and no insurance; or if you are 19 and paying your way through college – being out of work is an issue.  Because face it, if we didn’t need to work to survive, most wouldn’t.  Yes, there are those who like the pleasure of a job, or those that use employment to fill the hours or serve as a distraction from life; but ultimately, most people would enjoy life rather than be a slave to a paycheck if the option were presented.  It’s frustrating to me, being unemployed now for three hundred and three days, when I hear people damn the work force of our country or single out any unemployed party as being worse off than another.

1. Time Magazine




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