What Happened to Teenage Work Ethic?

Feb 7, 2023 | Macro Insights, No Bull Economics

Young Workers Post Banner
Banner

Sometimes a chart says everything, as is the case below. The labor participation rate for the 16 to 19-year-old demo peaked at just under 60% in the late seventies and was cut in half during the lockdowns before “recovering” to 37% currently.

The Importance of Young Workers

America needs young workers, and young people need to work. This is one of the essential maxims of the fast-food industry – entry-level jobs (flipping burgers) help the youth to learn a work ethic and, in turn, this helps the chains to fill a ton of entry-level jobs. It represents an important win/win societal pack.

Interestingly, the labor participation rate for the 55+ demo seems to be inverse of the 16 – 19 demo. Perhaps the older folks crowd out the youth from entry-level jobs and vice-versa? In any case, we can see the older crowd getting back to work after the 2009 Great Recession while teenagers have largely checked-out.

This has important going forward implications for America’s workforce. With the majority of teenagers lacking work experience, much of the demo requires entry-level training in their twenties & beyond. Further, teenagers without jobs presumably have no disposable income to purchase things like burgers & fries. This could be the simple explanation for declining restaurant traffic…

 

Labor Participation Rate by Age Graph
Labor Participation Rate by Age Graph
Marketing Consumer Research Weekly Banner
Research Services Banner

Nobull consumer research weekly

No Bull Economics

Get Corporate & Market Insights in your inbox