Site menu:


July 2012 Policy Study, Number 12-7


Teen Unemployment in Iowa


Benefits of Teens Working



Holding your first job as a teenager is an important part of learning the career skills that will be necessary to being a productive worker in adult life. As Institute Research Analyst Deborah Thornton wrote in an INSTITUTE BRIEF, “What Did Your Teenager Do This Summer?”:


Holding paying summer jobs is an important part of becoming an adult and joining the real workforce. Summer jobs teach responsibility, accountability, and provide pride of accomplishment. They teach the hard lesson of what happens when you don’t show up on time, aren’t prepared to work, and get fired. These are lessons that need to be learned while still at home.[8]


Additionally, studies have shown that being unemployed as a teenager, meaning the teen wants to work but is unable to find a job, can lead to a lifetime of fewer earnings than those teens that are able to find a job. In “The Long-Term Effects of Youth Unemployment,” Dr. Thomas A. Mroz and Dr. Timothy H. Savage find that “early unemployment delays gains in experience and training that usually lead to increased earnings. Prior work experience has been found to have a large and positive effect on future earnings, which is disrupted by an unemployment spell.”[9] Unemployment as a teenager can have a lasting, detrimental impact on the future earning potential during the teen’s adult years.



Click here for pdf copy of this Policy Study


All of our publications are available for sponsorship.  Sponsoring a publication is an excellent way for you to show your support of our efforts to defend liberty and define the proper role of government.  For more information, please contact Public Interest Institute at 319-385-3462 or e-mail us at