Unexpectedly Intriguing!
22 February 2024
A teenager looking for a job image generated by Microsoft Bing Image Generator - https://www.bing.com/images/create/a-teenager-looking-for-a-job/1-65cfc74d992b4ebc9ef4da16b814c0e0?id=pzOnLX5GkMhT2eoNOiaLYg%3d%3d&view=detailv2&idpp=genimg&idpclose=1&thId=OIG3.4BG_pLoIAG_CHyZhVzmi&frame=sydedg&FORM=SYDBIC

After ending 2023 on a down note, the employment situation for U.S. teens was mostly unchanged in January 2024.

That's good news, particularly for younger teens. This demographic has finally broken out of its 2022 downward trend, having recorded increases in the seasonally-adjusted number of Age 16-17 with jobs in five of the last six months. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics data, there were 2,292,000 working 16-17 year olds in January 2024, about 200,000 more than in July 2023.

But for the overall teen employment situation to be flat, that means a more negative story for older U.S. teens, whose seasonally-adjusted employment figures dipped slightly from the previous month to 3,428,000. While that number didn't change much from December 2023, the percentage share of working older teens declined to 42.0% of the Age 18-19 population in January 2024, down from December 2023's 43.6%.

For the combined population of working teens, the net overall change in seasonally adjusted employment for the combined Age 16-19 population was an increase of 66,000 to 5,704,000. There was no change recorded for this age cohort's employment-to-population percentage from December 2023 to January 2024.

All these changes are shown in the following charts presenting the seasonally-adjusted data for the number of employed teens and the teen employment-to-population ratio from January 2016 through January 2024.

U.S. Teen Employment and Teen Employment-to-Population Ratio*, January 2016 - January 2024

Because the Bureau of Labor Statistics subjects each of these data series to its own seasonal adjustment, you'll find the figures presented in the chart for Age 16-17 year olds and Age 18-19 year olds do not necessarily add up to the combined total for Age 16-19 year olds. If you are looking for employment numbers that do add up properly, you'll want to access the non-seasonally adjusted data available at the BLS' data site.


U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Labor Force Statistics (Current Population Survey - CPS). [Online Database]. Accessed: 16 February 2024.

Image Credit: Microsoft Bing Image Generator. Prompt: "A teenager looking for a job".

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