Students arriving at school
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Most people remember their first summer or after-school job, which provided cash to help pay for college or a car.
Today, vehicles and higher education — among other expenses — cost significantly more. Yet fewer teenagers are working.
The share of teens participating in the labor force peaked 40 years ago and has declined ever since. In 1979, nearly 60% of American teenagers were employed, an all-time high. Today, just over one-third, or 35%, of teens between the ages of 16 and 19 are part of the workforce.
Teens are less likely to work part-time while in school and also less likely to work over the summer, according to a study by the Hamilton Project and Brookings Institution.
“High school has become more intense,” said Lauren Bauer, a co-author of the study.
“We have increasing demands on what it is that high schoolers need to be doing and how much time that takes,” she said, including “not only homework and course requirements but other graduation requirements like public service.”
“There is less time in the day to hold down a job.”