Unemployment Crisis Hits Teens
UPDATED 04/19/11 8:03 a.m.
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (CBS/WBBM) — The worsening economy has now hit teenagers, and new statistics for Illinois show that African-American teens in particular are more likely to be without a job.
As WBBM Newsradio 780’s Dave Marsett reports, state unemployment statistics for 2010 show the unemployment rate for white youths is 24.7 percent, but it’s nearly double for black teenagers at 47.7. In 2009 those numbers were 50.2 percent for black teens and 21.8 percent for white teens.
LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s Dave Marsett reports
“One of the pressures for teen employment is the overall unemployment rate – individuals are accepting and seeking positions that they might not normally do in more robust economic times,” Greg Rivara of the Illinois Department of Employment Security tells the Springfield State Journal-Register. “The more we focus on subsets, the more difficult to determine what will occur because we simply have never been in this position.”
The statistics also show that 11.7 percent of black teenagers were employed in 2010. That’s compared with 30 percent of white teenagers and 26 percent of Hispanic teenagers. In 2009, 31.8 percent of white teens were employed, 29.5 percent of Hispanic teens and 11.6 percent of black teens.
The Department of Employment Security defines teens as between 16- and 19-year-old Illinois residents who are out of work and looking for a job.
Rivara said the nation’s overall unemployment is making it difficult for teens to find jobs. He says adults are accepting and looking for jobs that they wouldn’t normally if economic times were better.
There are other challenges too. A study from the nonprofit Employment Policies Institute has found that for every 10 percent increase in minimum wage, teen employment could decrease nearly 4 percent.
Educators, including Artie Doss, principal of Lanphier High School in Springfield, said students need guidance.
“We (in education) have to make sure when we’re teaching morals and values, that one is to prepare yourself to find a job and to be a productive citizen in the community,” Doss said. “It’s important to instill the value of working (to) pay taxes and to provide for your family.”
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