Generations Adrift Without the Habits of Working


One hears anecdotes, from time to time, about young adults who simply do not understand the habits associated with holding a job.  Punctuality, an understanding that sometimes tedious or undesirable activities are necessary, and an appreciation of the relationship between consumer and vendor are all examples.  Giving young adults the opportunity to learn such principles first-hand is almost as critical as giving them experience with the occupational value of money.

A new paper that I’ve penned for the RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity takes a look at teenage unemployment, with a particular eye on the minimum wage.  The upshot is a collapse of employment among the young, especially in locations, like Rhode Island, that can least afford to lose the enterprising inclination in a generation of its residents.

Weekly Hours Worked per 100 Rhode Island Teens by Age and High-School Diploma, 2002-2011

In speeches running the gamut from altruism to cynicism, the phrase “vulnerable populations” plays a prominent role in modern politics — particularly in blue states like Rhode Island.  To the extent that it’s meant sincerely, the concern should cover young adults whom we are failing to acclimate to the working world.

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