Magazine September 10, 2018, Issue

More Immigration, Less Teen Employment

(Rayes/Getty Images)
A socially consequential trade-off

During the summer, American teenagers have traditionally filled jobs — as waiters, for example, or lifeguards, baby­sitters, landscapers, laborers, or cashiers — that require relatively little formal education. But this rite of passage has become less common for American teens as fewer work in the summer. The decline in teenage employment has been ongoing for decades and affected students, non-students, blacks, whites, Hispanics, younger teens (ages 16 and 17), older teens (18 and 19), and both genders. This is worrisome because research shows that those who do not hold jobs as teenagers often fail to develop the work habits necessary

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