Washington Teens Work Less Than Other States


Tough Job Market
Tough Job Market

Washington has the second highest teen unemployment rate in the country, making it difficult for college students to find jobs that will help them pay their tuition fees or any other academic expenses..


New statistics released last week by the Employment Policies Institute (EPI) have shown that  the unemployment rate for young people ages 16-19 is currently at 35 percent, tied with Nevada but just under Georgia, which has a teen unemployment rate of 37 percent.

These statistics do not count the District of Columbia, which has a soaring teen unemployment rate of 47 percent.

In this time of economic downturn, jobs are scarcer than ever. Washington has an unemployment rate of 9.1 percent after eliminating 700 jobs in May, which means there are a lot of experienced people searching for any paying job.

Businesses have more applicants than they have jobs to offer, which means that they can afford to be selective. Inexperienced teenagers are competing in the job market with other older and much more experienced people, where they will lose almost every time.

Washington State has the highest minimum wage in the country: $8.67, compared to the national rate of $7.25. Because of this, companies can’t afford to hire many people and must limit their employment to those most qualified for the job.

The branch of the EPI that collected this data calls the controversially high minimum wage “poorly targeted poverty-fighting tools.”

In addition to the declining economic state, many employers don’t allow teens to do certain necessary tasks, which makes it difficult them to even qualify for a job.

For example, no teenager is allowed to drive a vehicle regularly, including pizza deliveries.

Teens are not allowed to unload items in a warehouse, nor are they allowed to use a forklift. No teens are allowed to work past 8 p.m unsupervised.  They aren’t even allowed to operate a mixer or bake.

These restrictions severely reduce job possibilities for a teen. While trying to contend with experienced adults in a highly competitive market environment, teenagers are drowning.

Washington is a hostile place for a young person to enter the work force. With a high minimum wage and high unemployment for experienced workers, teenagers hardly stand a chance.