CBS Sacramento recently reported on the growing number of teens joining the job market to help their parents make ends meet. At a time when most of their friends are involved in after-school clubs, sports, and other extra-curricular activities, these teens are at part-time jobs, hoping to earn enough money to help put a bit more distance between their families and poverty. While some students join the workforce because their parents haven’t found a job or are injured, many are simply trying to supplement their parents’ income. Economic uncertainty has forced many workers to take large pay cuts, making it harder to burden the expenses of a home and family.
For every student that finds a job, there are countless more still looking. Unemployment rates for that demographic are over 20% in 35 states, and nearly 50% in Washington, DC. This means that a teen may have to wait several months or more before finding a job, months before they can help their families financially.
No parent wants their child to have to prematurely abandon their childhood. President Obama’s policies have helped the economy improve ahead of schedule, but more has to be done in order to help parents find better jobs and earn higher wages. It’s time for Congress to stop slowing the recovery and work with the President to pass the American Jobs Act. High school students should be preoccupied with homework and extra-curricular activities, not whether or not they’ll earn enough to help pay the mortgage.