(LifeZette) The number of teenagers in the U.S. with a job has been cut in half since the 1980s, and researchers who’ve studied the issue closely say it appears immigration has a lot to do with it. Christopher L. Smith, an economist with the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, found in 2012 that a 10 percent increase in the number of employed immigrants with no more than a high school diploma reduces the average number of hours American teenagers work in a year by 3 percent.
There are now four times as many foreign-born people in the U.S. than there were in 1970 — and fewer teenagers working than at any time in recent history.
Immigration, Smith wrote in the Journal of Labor Economics, “has had a sizable impact on youth employment.” In the first quarter of 2017, just 18 percent of 16- and 17-year-old, U.S.-born Americans had jobs — a historic low.
The problem: One-quarter of American teenage males and almost one-third of American teenage females work in the 20 most popular jobs for immigrants. These include restaurant cooks, restaurant servers, construction, and grocery-store cashier jobs.
As immigrants take those jobs, teenagers looking for work are out of luck.
“What you’ve seen is just a totally massive decline in work among the young in the United States,” says Steve Camarota, the director of research for the Center for Immigration Reform.
Immigration isn’t likely the only reason, granted, he told LifeZette.
More teenagers take:
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