Unexpectedly Intriguing!
April 8, 2010

As expected, with no further increases in the federal minimum wage scheduled to take place in the near future, we find that both teens and young adults fared disproportionately well in the BLS' March 2010 employment situation report.

Change in Number of Employed by Age Group Since Total Employment Peak Reached in November 2007, as of March 2010 We confirm that result in our chart showing how the employment situation of both teens (Age 16-19) and young adults (Age 20-24) have fared with respect to those Age 25 or older since total employment levels peaked in November 2007, prior to the beginning of recession in December 2007.

Here, in looking at the transition from February to March 2010, we see that the total number of jobs lost in the U.S. economy since the recession began declined by 254,000 overall, from 7,842,000 jobs lost through February 2010 to 7,578,000 jobs lost in March 2010. Or rather, there was a net gain of 254,000 in the number of employed individuals counted as being employed from February to March 2010.

Of this 254,000 overall net gain, teens Age 16-19 gained 13,000 (or 5.1% of the net gain in jobs), while young adults Age 20-24 gained 72,000 (or 28.3% of the net gain in jobs). These gains are significant in that the percentage share of teens as part of the U.S. workforce is 3.24% and the share of young adults Age 20-24 in the U.S. workforce is 9.07%.

Since the percentage share of both teens and young adults in the net gain for jobs is so much higher than their actual percentage share within the U.S. civilian labor force, this outcome confirms that both teens and young adults are disproportionately benefiting from the hiring activity that is now occurring.

We'll close by noting that is the exact reverse of the situation we observed throughout the period of time in which the federal minimum wage was being increased from 2007 through 2009, which is why we can now expect the teens and young adults who make up roughly half of all minimum wage earners in the United States to fare much better than others. Especially now that their potential employers no longer have to adapt their hiring activity to have to cope with additional increases in the federal minimum wage.

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