by Ted Dabrowski, Lawrence J. McQuillan, John H. Klinger
Illinois Policy Institute
November 14, 2012
Only 27% of teens in Illinois had jobs last year – the lowest Illinois teen employment rate in the 42 years this data has been collected. The figures were worst for African American teens, where only 10% had jobs. Both the Great Recession and Illinois $8.25/hour minimum wage laws are to blame for this situation. The solution to this problem is for both the federal government and Illinois to abolish the minimum wage. Abolishing the minimum wage would quickly boot teen employment in Illinois, allowing teens to get the work experience and on-the-job training they need for future career advancement. Parents should support these goals. With wage flexibility, any teen who wants to work will be able to and employment in the long run as labor markets clear, leaving only normal “churn” unemployment as people naturally move in and out of jobs. More productive workers will command a higher wage as employers compete for their greater skills and talents.