ST. LOUIS (KMOV) – Only one in four teenagers is expected to find work this summer, and this new low in the job market has created concerns about youth violence, putting police and the courts on high alert.
Some argue that if teens aren’t in school or at work, they’ll be out on the street either causing or getting into trouble.
The job outlook is especially bleak in Illinois because of state budget cuts and an end to federal stimulus money.
Jobs teens normally find such as working at a fast food restaurant or at a grocery store will wind up going to someone with more work experience.
Youth advocates say the link between teen unemployment and youth violence can’t be dismissed. “It doesn't matter whether it's an affluent child, or whether it's a poor child. If there's no adult supervision, too much idle time, or economic constraints - if two of those exist, that child will more likely than not, find himself [or] herself in trouble,” says Judge Jimmie Edwards, chief juvenile court judge in the St. Louis Circuit Court.
Advocates say it’s important that teens out of work this summer find something productive to do, whether it’s volunteering or taking part at recreational center programs.