New project highlights teenagers struggling to find work

Today, the Employment Policies Institute (EPI) launched a new web project featuring the stories of more than six dozen teenagers around the country who’ve been unable to find work for the summer. The stories, collected through Facebook, highlight the difficulties today’s youth face while attempting to enter the labor force.

These teenage applicants were often frustrated with employer feedback that highlighted a need for experienced applicants:

  • Amailah W (Brooklyn, NY): “I have looked for jobs, however none of them would accept youth, only those with experience.”
  • Nikita F. (Chicago, IL): “Nobody wants to hire you because [you’re too] young or you don’t have experience”
  • Brain L. (San Diego, CA): “It’s ironic because how can I get experience if no one wants to hire me?”
  • Estel C. (Sacramento, CA): “I’m a teen looking for a job and it’s especially harder with no previous work experience but I really want to find a summer job!”

While Bureau of Labor Statistics data show that the teen unemployment rate is near historic lows, there are nearly 11 million teens who’ve dropped out of the labor force (or never entered it). According to a study by authors David Neumark and Cortnie Shupe, rising state and local minimum wages have been a “predominant factor” in the decline. The new project featuring teenagers’ struggles to find a summer job will supplement existing academic research and expand upon EPI’s “Faces of $15” website. “Faces of $15” profiles over 100 business owners who have also been harmed by rising minimum wages.