September 5, 2009

Teenage Unemployment Rate at Record High: NYT Blog Post Commenters Explain Why


(image found at

Yesterday’s Employment Situation Report from Uncle Sam’s Bureau of Labor Statistics had lots of of dismal news.

One of the bigger disappointments, but sadly not one of the bigger surprises, is that the teenage unemployment rate reached an all-time seasonally adjusted high of 25.5%.

People who know even a little bit about economics should understand why, but an oddly titled New York Times blog post by Catherine Rampall took a pass on realistically trying to explain it:

Oh What a Time to Be Young!

Pity the unemployed, but especially pity the teenage unemployed.

According to today’s job report, the overall unemployment rate (the percentage of people in the labor force not working but looking for work) in August rose to 9.7 percent, its highest level in 26 years. The teenage unemployment rate, however, is at 25.5 percent, its highest level since the Bureau of Labor Statistics began keeping track of such data in 1948.

….. Of course, teenagers are likely to have fewer financial obligations than their older counterparts. But in a job market where older workers are expected to continue postponing retirement a little longer, the outlook still isn’t good for young Americans desperate for the work openings that typical turnover and attrition can offer.

Many blog post readers explained it for Ms. Rampall, and accurately. Here are some of them:

Undoubtedly due to minimum wage increases. I don’t know of a single business that kept on as many teenage workers when the minimum wage increased. — Josh

Wow. The kids are applying for unemployment instead of just going back to school and studying. Free is free. When I was in school, I never considered applying, even though I could have. — Cathy

Combine Cathy’s great comment with the fact that the minimum wage keeps raising such that the output they produce doesn’t match their costs, and you have all the answers you need. — Jeffrey

Higher minimum wages will kill job prospects for the young. In 27 years of business I never paid just the minimum wage, but now I have to in California. It costs way too much to train someone before they become productive; it’s just not worth it and now I am much more likely to cut my losses with a slow learner rather than train them more. — Jon A

…. This happens every time they increase the minimum wage; teenagers are laid off and their wages are spread around to pay the remaining workers’ higher wages. The first full month of the new minimum wage, 150,000 teens lose their job. It is a sadly predictable result of liberal policy. — Vitalis

The federal minimum wage was $5.15 per hour from September 1, 1997 until July 24, 2007. The 1997 increase did not have a material effect on the employment market, because most employers were already paying starting workers more than $5.15. During the following 10 years, the highest seasonally adjusted teenage unemployment rate was 19.0% (June 2003).

The federal minimum wage was increased to $5.85 on July 24, 2007; to $6.55 on July 24, 2008; and to $7.25 on July 24, 2009. In July 2007, teenage unemployment was at 15.1%. By August 2008, it was at 19.2%. Now we’re at 25.5%.

I’d say there’s a correlation, and that the press isn’t willing to make it. The minimum wage is a favorite of the left, no matter how many kids and low-skilled adults it throws out of work. Supporting minimum-wage increases is considered one of the things the late Sen. Ted Kennedy “got right.” I don’t see how.

Cross-posted at

Ohio Is in the Best of Hands …. Not

Filed under: Economy,Health Care,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 3:26 pm

Here (HT Jawa Report) is how Columbus Mayor Michael “25% income tax hike” Coleman, Mary Jo “Emily’s List” Kilroy, and Lugubrious Lee Fisher (alternative nickname, “Pecs”) handled questions about how statist health care would be paid for:

Lord have mercy, the CBO has nuked everything Kilroy and Fisher inarticulately attempted to claim. Coleman was at least “smart” enough to know that they have no good or valid answer to the question.

Van Jones Lessons: Large, Larger, Largest

Van Jones’s Truther involvement defenses have shriveled away to virtually nothing. Gateway Pundit (HT Michelle Malkin) has now shown that Jones was involved and apparently even a leader in the movement (what do you call someone who’s on the “organizing committee”?) since its very early stages in January 2002, only four months after the 9/11 attacks. This makes his claim that he was in essence duped into signing a 2004 Truther statement impossible for anyone to believe.

Now we learn that 10 years ago (HT JammieWearingFool) Jones was THE leader of a group of “Free Mumia” disruptors of what was supposed to be a police-community event in San Francisco.

I separately studied the 1981 killing of Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner in great detail in the late 1990s, and have followed related developments since then.

There is nothing resembling a reasonable doubt that Wesley Cook aka Mumia Abdul-Jamal killed Officer Faulkner; go here for starters to get to that conclusion on your own. But the Obama administration’s so-called green jobs czar (who, by the way, can’t even define a “green job”) subscribed to the idea that Wesley/Mumia is innocent or deserves a new trial a decade ago. There’s no reason to believe he has since changed his mind.

It’s also evident, based on this comment from Obama’s left-hand adviser Valerie Jarrett, that they know what Jones is about, and have known all along. Michelle Malkin noted this quote from Jarrett in mid-August:

So, Van Jones. We were so delighted to be able to recruit him into the White House. We were watching him, uh, really, he’s not that old, for as long as he’s been active out in Oakland. And all the creative ideas he has. And so now, we have captured that. And we have all that energy in the White House.

Jarrett’s message is clear: We really know this guy, and we’re okay with him.

Lessons abound:

  • The large lesson is that, until shown otherwise in actions, not words, Van Jones is Valerie Jarrett is Barack Obama. By extension, unless specifically shown otherwise, Barack Obama owns the history and beliefs of his czars. For all practical purposes, John Holdren is Barack Obama, Zeke the Bleak Emanuel is Barack Obama. Rinse and repeat 30-something more times.
  • The larger lesson is that the president’s accumulation of an unprecedented number of unaccountable czars is dangerous and undemocratic. Who in Congress vetted, let alone confirmed, Van Jones? Obviously, no one. This troubling power consolidation was evident mere days after Obama assumed office; press commentary has been mostly non-existent. Anyone want to guess what would have happened if George W. Bush had accumulated 32 (or is it 37?) czars, instead of its alleged 12 (which was also wayyyyy too many)?
  • The largest lesson is that this administration can’t be allowed one iota of its agenda as long as Barack Obama and his czars occupy the White House. Not. One. Iota. Obama’s selection of the czars who surround him disqualifies him from any benefit of the doubt.

If given an inch, what these people would do to our health care system, our supposedly still-capitalist economy, our supposedly free airwaves, our educational system, and so many aspects of this country would leave it in a condition that bears little resemblance to what people are used to, and no resemblance to what they want. We should also be concerned about what these people are doing without the bother of legislation, which is why I expressed the need for an army of Eliot Nesses in my Pajamas Media column yesterday.

Positivity: East End man thanks deputy for his life

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 9:37 am

From Benton, Arkansas:

Joseph Allen Hampton of East End has a new lease on life, thanks to the quick-thinking efforts of a Saline County Sheriff’s Deputy.
Thursday, 03 September 2009

Just a few days ago, after spending 14 days at Baptist Health Medical Center in Little Rock, 38-year-old Hampton walked through the doors of the sheriff’s office. He wrapped his arms around Deputy Bill Hutto with tears in his eyes.

“I know there was a higher power at work that night — I was dead at the scene of the accident,” Hampton said, first to those around him and then directly to the man who saved his life. “Hutto came across the accident, and I wouldn’t be here now if it wasn’t for you. I wouldn’t be able to be with my 14-month-old daughter, Whisper Marie, if it wasn’t for your actions. There is a lot of things I could say, but most importantly, thank you.”

While trying to fight back the tears in his own eyes, Hutto responded, “No, thank you.”

“Shaking his hand and touching him and getting to know him… ,” Hutto said with a pause. “In this job, we usually deal with bad guys. These moments come along once in a blue moon. To know that I put my hands on someone and saved their life as an end result … there is a special bond there with us.”

The two embraced in another hug, and Hutto was presented a certificate of appreciation from Sheriff Bruce Pennington for his heroic efforts.

Just four minutes before midnight on Friday, Aug. 7, 2008, Hampton was driving southbound on Chicot Road. Hampton said he still does not know exactly what happened, but the last thing he remembers is Hutto’s police cruiser was behind him and a few seconds later Hutto passed him.

“I was actually going to another call,” Hutto said.

The report said Hampton’s truck drove off the roadway and struck a tree. The vehicle flipped on its left side and came to rest in the middle of Chicot Road, near Sterling Oaks Place.
Hampton, however, was not found in the vehicle — he was ejected headfirst through the front windshield and was found lying in a ditch. Hampton was later told in the hospital that he was seconds away from death before Hutto’s arrival.

“I actually remember seeing my dad’s face,” he said. “My dad died a few years ago, but I swear his face was looking at me.”

Hutto said he just happened to look in his rearview mirror and did not see Hampton’s headlights anymore. He also knew there was not a road or driveway for Hampton to turn on to, so Hutto stopped and turned back around to check out the situation.

“He was so lifeless there,” Hutto said. “I found a very faint pulse, and I didn’t think he was going to make it. I just reacted — it was my natural instinct to begin performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation and first aid.” ….

Go here for the rest of the story.