Unexpectedly Intriguing!
December 18, 2012

Today's data visualization exercise features the Bureau of Labor Statistics' data reporting the number of U.S. teens working either full or part-time, which goes back to January 1968. Our first chart improves on the BLS' data, by showing how both full and part-time working 16 to 19 year olds make up the complete teen employment scene:

Number of Employed U.S. Teenagers (Age 16-19) by Work Status, January 1968 - November 2012

Looking at the chart, we see that full-time jobs for teens peaked in 1979, while we see that part-time jobs for teens peaked in 1999. Overall, the number of part-time jobs for teens has been more stable than the number of full-time jobs, which have been declining since 1980.

The decline in full-time jobs for teens is especially visible in our second chart, which shows how the relative share of full-time jobs for teens has declined in stages over time:

Share of U.S. Teenagers (Age 16-19) Working Full- or Part-Time, January 1968 - November 2012

As a short primer to the reasons why the decline in the relative share of full-time jobs for U.S. teens looks the way it does, we'll point you to one document, which reveals the history of both the U.S. federal and California's minimum wages. Note the timing of when major shifts occur in our two charts with the dates listed....

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