Those of a certain age will remember when summer vacation jobs provided high school boys the job that led to their first car while high school girls earned money as baby sitters. Recent reports lament the disappearance of those opportunities and the maturing that brought. Earning money in the real world was a great attitude adjuster for the young. But as current stories lament, no more.
Why not? One conservative analyst said that the jobs were lost to immigrants. A liberal scholar blamed increased enrollment at summer schools. Both seem reasonable. But we aren’t observing from the political Right or Left, we try to see reality. A couple of simple realities seem sufficient to solve this one.
First, summer jobs for teens: What employer wants to hire and break in a kid when there re experienced and more needy adults available, when the pay and benefits are now the same for both? Labor laws no longer allow the ‘exploitation’ of kids, so economics no longer encourages their hiring.
For the baby sitters, California is a telling, if worst-case example. A baby sitting teen who serves more than one family outside her own requires a license. And the parents who hire a licensed baby sitter will need personnel and bookkeeping services to keep required records and money for the $`10 hr. minimum wage, sick pay, payroll taxes etc. We suppose some other places remain less bureaucratic but we will be surprised if anywhere in the U.S. still leaves the pay, qualifications and working conditions entirely between the parties, as they were at one time.
So, it is no mystery that kids no longer work as they once did: Their services have been priced out of the market. Just like their elders who are being replaced by robots and foreigners.