How America’s Economy is Affecting Teenagers

Lydia Nelson, Section Editor

America’s teens are taking the world by storm. They are quickly becoming individuals that are changing the ways in which we not only act, but how we see each other as well. New technologies, such as iPhones and gaming systems, help involve boys and girls in the aspects of our developing Earth and its society.  More people are becoming adapted to the new ways of life that are impacting teens, such as social media and other forms of communication. However, with the changing times, teenagers are being affected by the economy in which they live. With the rise of technology, there have also been drastic changes in the teen lifestyle, such as the declination of jobs and many department stores switching to online sales.  

There are various factors that tend to contribute to the decline of our economy. For instance, within our country, there are thousands upon thousands of teenagers who are trying to find a decent job to pay for future college opportunities and to raise money to support themselves and their loved ones. One of the major effects of economic change is the decreasing minimum wage for young boys and girls. The regular payment for teens at their jobs is steadily decreasing every year as the availability of careers is significantly declining. Kristen Lopez Eastlick, a senior economic analyst writes, “Unemployment for America’s teens reached the highest rate in 17 years this spring and continued to climb over the summer. The national teen unemployment rate is currently at 24 percent, a nearly 12-percent increase from earlier this summer and 2.5 times the national unemployment rate.”  Teenagers are facing the crisis of losing their careers every day.  As a result of this, the state of our nation’s economy worsens, leaving people wondering if they will be able to provide for their families. This is a problem that desperately needs to be resolved.  

One of the major ways the economy is affecting the teen generation is how boys and girls are reacting to the news of the loss of young jobs in our country. Many teenagers are resorting to simpler methods of shopping, such as going to stores that sell clothing and merchandise at lower prices, such as Goodwill or small thrift stores. Teenagers are trying to spend less, but buy more, rather than using all of their paycheck to buy one item.  “It is way cooler to get a super deal on that shirt rather than being able to spend the most money on something,” said Anna D’Agrosa, director of Consumer Insights at The Zandl Group, a market research company focusing on teens.  D’Agrosa also highlights the effects of how teenagers are reacting to their new society, “Kids are becoming really aware of what is happening to their economy and to their families.”

Even though the teen economy is far worse than ever before, one positive outcome of this situation is that more and more families are becoming aware of the developing world around them. In addition, mothers and fathers are seeing how the technology of our world is affecting the economy in both the negative and positive sense. Jennifer Bayot addresses the increasing number of families shopping online rather than department stores. “About 65 percent of 15- to 17-year-olds and 45 percent of 12- to 14-year-olds say their parents ask them to research products or services online. Those percentages respectively represent increases of 127 percent and 13 percent from just two years ago.”

As a result of the sudden change in ways of shopping, there is a major disadvantage. The increase in sales on the web creates an exponential decrease in the number of sales within ground stores, lowering the state of our economy even more. Jason Bram and Nicole Gorton highlight the issues of differing wages for normal stores vs online sellers, “By 2016, the average wage for non-store workers exceeded $59,000, while the average wage for department store workers remained roughly the same.” There has been a dramatic increase in not only the sales of online stores, but their employee paychecks as well. While most normal ground buildings still have the bare minimum wage, many new and upcoming online retailers are increasing their salaries for their employees. When this type of action occurs, there is an even greater risk for teens to lose their jobs, which leads to a loss of thousands of teen employees across the nation.

In today’s society, America is thriving more than ever before. Men and women around the globe are developing new technologies to make our lives as citizens pleasurable and comfortable. However, with the ever-changing state of our country’s economic standards, we are plunging into a time where jobs are becoming fewer by the day and thousands of people are becoming aware of the shift from shopping at regular stores to buying everything from internet companies, such as Amazon and other leading online brands. With this dramatic change in our economy, there is a smaller gap in the time where teenagers can make a living through retail stores, restaurants, or other job sites, as there are fewer customers to serve to. Teenage boys and girls across the nation are losing their jobs because of the economy around us. How will we make a change for the better?



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