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A minimum condition for summer jobs?

The summer job outlook for teens and young adults is the worst in years, according to this story in today's New York Times. Money paragraph:

The unemployment rate for the 16-to-24 age group reached a record 19.6 percent in April, double the national average. For those job seekers, said Heidi Shierholz, an economist at the Economic Policy Institute, "This is the worst year, definitely since the early 80s recession and very likely since the Great Depression."

The article is replete with calls for more deficit spending to "create" jobs for this group -- and it is illustrated by a photograph of students in Massachusetts demanding state funding. Of course, it also explains that $1 billion in federal spending would create 300,000 jobs, or more than $30,000 per job. Do you know of any summer jobs that actually pay $30,000?

I can't help wondering how different things might be if Congress had not adopted the third in a series of scheduled minimum-wage increases a year ago -- or if it allowed private sector employers to pay young people a subminimum wage today.

By Charles Lane  | June 1, 2010; 2:26 PM ET
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It seems like you don't understand that there's a difference between take-home pay for an employee, and how much that position actually costs.

Posted by: Interceptor402 | June 1, 2010 3:33 PM | Report abuse

"Do you know of any summer jobs that actually pay $30,000?"

They seem to be as rare as conservatives who understand economics.

Posted by: bsimon1 | June 1, 2010 5:27 PM | Report abuse

Subminimum wage! Great idea? How about just reviving indentured servitude? Many teenagers could get meaningful work if they would just pledge to work unpaid for the next seven years!

Or, maybe our economy needs serious reform - single payer health care, discouragement of job outsourcing overseas, greater investment in education, fewer tax breaks for the wealthy and corporations.....

nah, couldn't be that, could it?

Posted by: Dollared | June 1, 2010 5:46 PM | Report abuse

Lane's comment is certainly valid. All things being equal, the higher the wage floor the lower the number of people covered by any expenditure.

Intercepter402, yes there is a difference between take home pay and the amount spent per job. However, Assuming these jobs last for three months, even if the employee is making $10 per hour, that is only $5K. Less say benefits account for another 40 percent, making it 7K, that means 23K went to overhead!

Posted by: RealChoices | June 2, 2010 6:52 AM | Report abuse

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