Unfortunately for us all, the bad news about the economy just keeps coming. Today the Labor Department announced that new claims for unemployment benefits rose (as always, “unexpectedly”) to the highest level in a month. 472,000 new claims for unemployment benefits were filed last week. The total number of people receiving benefits increased to 9.7 million.
Equally bad, the summer job market apparently is the worst it has been in decades. As a result many American teenagers aren’t getting the opportunity to hold down a job, to learn the value of a dollar by earning their own spending money, and to develop good work habits and ethics. That fact also is likely to cause long-term problems in our society. Summer jobs are important learning experiences for new entrants to the work force; the new workers deal with their first boss, learn to get along with co-workers, and perhaps get a meaningful lesson or two in the school of hard knocks. We should be as concerned about the lack of employment opportunities for young people as we are about any of our other economic problems.