Can You Live on Minimum Wage????
Eateries, clothing stores and other businesses that typically hire teens in entry-level positions have been hammered by the recession and are cutting staff. Nearly 10 percent of Americans, and more than 11 percent of Californians, are unemployed. Adults with college degrees are now working in minimum-wage jobs traditionally held by teenagers.
"I'd like to get a restaurant or retail job, but it's almost impossible," said Brandon Burson, who is 16 and a senior at El Camino Fundamental High School in Sacramento. "For every one job that opens up, there are hundreds of applications."
Figures released Monday by the nonprofit Employment Policies Institute are sobering. The group puts the teen unemployment rate at 24 percent, its highest rate in 17 years.
The shaky economy, combined with a rising federal minimum wage, has squeezed many teenagers out of the job market this summer, said Kristen Lopez Eastlick, senior research analyst for the group.
The federally mandated minimum wage is set to increase to $7.25 per hour on July 24. California's minimum wage is even higher, $8 an hour.
"Because there are so many adults out of work, competition for jobs is really tough," said Terri Carpenter, spokeswoman for the Sacramento Employment & Training Agency, which helps youth prepare for and find work. "Unfortunately, because of the economy, a lot of kids will not be getting jobs this summer."
Thanks to an infusion of federal stimulus funding, SETA this year sponsored a summer youth employment program, putting 1,054 young people to work in jobs paying the minimum wage.
Iesha Shepherd, 18, is one of them. Shepherd, who is attending summer school and has numerous family commitments, needed a position with flexible hours and found one at Ace Supply Hardware in North Highlands.
"I'm very willing to work," she said.
The city of Sacramento also has a youth vocational program, but it received far more applicants this year than it could accommodate, said supervisor Cheryl Rose.
"We had 735 qualified youth applicants for 64 jobs," said Rose. "So we're not even hitting 10 percent of the need."
In recent months the agency also has been getting applications from "very overqualified" adults who want to work with children, she said. "These are people with two master's degrees, and they need work. A lot of people are out there looking."....
As the pain increases, so will the stress. How long do you think it will be before policy makers start a war, pandemic or other event to distract us from this inevitable train wreck????
Bankers getting huge bonuses as homeowners get thrown out of their homes? Government misjudging the severity of the downturn when they are lying about the numbers? Wall Street getting trillions of dollars while credit being cut off to the masses???
The protests are already starting. The food banks are running out of food. You can fantasize all you want about a second half recovery.........9.09 is getting closer every day.