Despite opposing sentiment from older generations, Gen Z is making huge waves in the workforce.
According to recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the unemployment rate for teenagers aged 16 to 19 fell to 10.2% last month. In comparison, teenage unemployment clocked in at 15.8% when Baby Boomers were the same age.
Still, workforce participation among this age group sat at 36.6% compared to the 51.2% seen between 1962 and 1980.
But there is more to this statistic. School enrollment rates have grown among younger generations, while several low-skilled jobs have been taken over by automated technology.
Despite Gen Z’s workplace participation numbers falling below the rate seen amongst teenagers during 1962 and 1980, they are still striving to find work during the summer.
Data shows that a tight labor market and the Great Resignation are bringing in more teenage workers than ever before. For many adults, working low-skill, low-paying jobs throughout the pandemic became useless, leading many to quit in search for better careers.
“Adult workers said, ‘I no longer want this crazy low-wage service job that has a ludicrous schedule, few benefits, and rude customers,’” said Alicia Sasser Modestino, a labor economist and professor at Northeastern.
To address this widening labor gap, employers started turning to younger people.
In March, data from the Atlanta Reserve Bank shows that median hourly wages for workers between 16 and 24 grew 11.8% year-over-year.
While many of these young adults are focused on their education, the increase in wages and improved work conditions among some companies may help boost their labor participation and address staffing challenges.