Bringing the Economy Home

More Bad News For Idaho Teens: Young Workers’ Pay Takes A Hit

Joe Raedle / Getty Images News

A cashier folds clothing at a department store

Young workers’ wages have fallen off in the last ten years, a period that a new report terms the “lost decade.”  D.C.-based think tank the Economic Policy Institute analyzed entry-level workers’ earnings going back to 1979.

“From 2000 to 2011, a period of disappointing overall wage growth, wages actually fell among every entry-level group regardless of education,” report author Lawrence Mishel writes.  For high-school-educated men, entry-level wages fell by nearly 9 percent over that period, according to the study’s analysis.  For high-school-educated women, the decline was slightly higher, at 9.2 percent.

In Idaho, this unwelcome news for young workers coincides with an already troubling statistic: this state has one of highest teen unemployment rates in the nation, according to recent numbers from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.

StateImpact recently has worked to document the effects of joblessness on Idaho teens.  Some worry that a lack of work now will put them at a disadvantage later on, when they apply for work as young adults.  Others, who need to work to support themselves or their families, say they feel hopelessly out-of-luck in an economy that has made jobs scarce.  Listen to StateImpact‘s broadcast feature here.  Also be sure to take a look at our unemployment app.


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