The state-by-state breakdown for teen unemployment is running a month behind the available national numbers. The results for Texas show teen unemployment exceeding 25% in February, when the U.S. rate was still just under 24%.
Michael Saltsman is a research fellow at the Employment Policies Institute in Washington, D.C. He says teen unemployment is a key metric for the entry-level job market.
“And we haven’t seen the sort of improvement there that we’ve seen in the overall labor market. To give you a 10,000 foot view, teen unemployment now has been over 20% for 41 months. So, for someone that started in high school a couple of years ago, they’ve never known anything other than a labor market where it’s difficult to impossible for them to find a job.”
Saltsman says missing out on the skills teens pick up on a first job can put them at a disadvantage in the workforce for years – hurting both their prospects for employment and their earning power.