A national employment group says Missouri teenagers had a tough summer finding work. 

The Employment Policies Institute focuses on entry-level job studies using Bureau of Labor Statistics that are based on ongoing census numbers.  The mid-summer numbers estimated a teen unemployment rate in Missouri of almost 32 percent.  Only four states and the District of Columbia had higher jobless rates among people 16 to 19 years old. 

Senior Research Fellow Michael Saltsman says some jobs have just disappeared—self-service checkout at grocery stores instead of teenage checkout clerks for example.  He says they also found themselves facing competition from workers who wouldn’t have looked at those jobs when times were better.

He says the changing economics of hiring young people also work against them. He says the cost of hiring young people has risen in the last four years with higher federal minimum wages enacted.  The institute says policymakers should avoid passing new wage mandates that will raise the costs of hiring and training less-experienced jobseekers.

Missouri is not alone. It was a bad summer for many states. At least 35 states had mid-summer teen rates of 21 percent or more.

The state economic development department says it can’t confirm the institute’s calculations.

 Listen to interview with Michael Saltsman 18:58 mp3