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Teens struggle to squeeze into the job market

Growth is one thing teenagers won’t find in the job market.

A new report shows that jobs won’t be easy to come by for teenagers. Hartford Business recently reported that opportunity for employment for teens has dropped considerably over the past decade, going from 45 percent in 2000 to 26 percent in 2011, according to a study done by the Brookings Research Institute.

Provo, Utah, has the highest teen employment rate in the United States with about 49 percent of people aged 16 to 19 finding jobs, Hartford Business reported.

The study found that under utilization — “meaning they're either looking for a job, would like to work but aren't looking, or they have a part-time job but would prefer to work full-time” — was a root cause for the lack of growth in teen employment opportunities, Hartford Business reported.

"Underutilization spiked, and that wouldn't happen if people were happily in school and not wanting to work," said Martha Ross, co-author of Brookings’ report.

Another author of the report, Andrew Sum, recently spoke with Bloomberg about the findings, and said it’s a shame that people aren’t taking notice of the lack of teen jobs.

“If the employment rate went down 20 percentage points for adults, what would you call it?” he asked, according to Bloomberg. “For teenagers, it’s worse than the Great Depression. The question is, why don’t we care?”

It’s going to have effects in the future, too, Sum said, according to Bloomberg. People who can’t find a job when they’re young, he said, are less likely to find one when they’re no longer teenagers, according to Bloomberg.

With the market changing, this isn’t a good sign for teens. Bill Gates recently said at the American Enterprise Institute that technology is going to lead to less jobs, The Blaze reported. This could leave teens in the dark and without an opportunity to find work.

And this is coming at a time when teenage culture is under the microscope. The Atlantic recently published a video previewing a documentary called “Teenage,” which looks at the emergence of youth culture. And The Guardian recently asked readers to send in their thoughts on what it’s like to live as a teenager.

Email: hscribner@deseretnews.com Twitter: @hscribner