Half of the U.S. states have teen unemployment rates above 25 percent, reports the Employment Policies Institute, and its experts say an alternative youth wage is the only way the situation will improve for young workers.
“The statistics are devastating: Nationally, nearly one in four teens is looking for work without success,” said EPI Research Fellow Michael Saltsman in a statement. “With summer approaching, the creation of a lower training wage would be an excellent way to boost job opportunities for teens in hard-hit states.”
Thirteen of the 25 states are also among the 25 most populous states. Nine of the 25 are Southern states.
The recent increase in the federal minimum wage, coinciding with more seniors entering the workforce, has made teen employees less attractive to employers. And, EPI said, 12 states are considering an additional increase in the minimum wage.
“That could make it harder for teens to get a job this summer,” Saltsman said.
Legislators in five states – Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Oregon, and Washington – are considering the idea of a “training wage” for teens.
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