Teenagers easily get bored. To fill that idle time they can study, play or work. Sometimes that idle time turns into crime in the streets and the best way to use teen energy is to put it to work in the marketplace so they become vested and productive movers in the community. There’s no better cure for teen angst than working for your daily bread.
How does a society cope with that bubbling teenage angst if it cannot be successfully funneled into the workforce?
Unfortunately, many cities are dealing with the answer to that dangerous conundrum:
This August, the teenage unemployment rate — that is, the percentage of teenagers who wanted a job who could not find one — was 25.5 percent, its highest level since the government began keeping track of such statistics in 1948. Likewise, the percentage of teenagers over all who were working was at its lowest level in recorded history.
“There are an amazing number of kids out there looking for work,” said Andrew M. Sum, an economics professor at Northeastern University. “And given that unemployment is a lagging indicator, and young people’s unemployment even lags behind the rest of unemployment, we’re going to see a lot of kids of out work for a long, long, long, long time.”
Idling teenagers is never good for any society and the Great Depression dealt with boiling teen angst by helping them finish high school.
The cure today is helping those bored kids find work by entering a college learning program and staying there to finish an advanced degree. School becomes the job.
The catch is that higher education costs money and few teenagers are able to pay their own way.
Instead of creating jobs programs that keep kids busy instead of involved in active learning, we should be using every resource we have as a nation to help keep kids in school and help them find the work of expanding their minds more valuable than wasting away it all away in the streets.