When I was in high school, I had a job. As you can see from the graph above, up until 2001, over 50% of teenagers had jobs. Since then, the percent of teenagers employed—including part-time jobs—has declined and continues to decline. The most recent labor force participation rate for 16- to 19-year-olds is at just under 35%. Likely, most parents and teenagers see school as the first priority, as the rewards from finishing school have grown. Many years ago, teenagers participated in the labor force at a higher rate than adults over 55 years of age. But the percent of workers aged 55 and over has risen by almost 10% since then, at least in part because they are in better health during those later years and many retirees seek what they did as teenagers: part-time jobs.
How this graph was created: Search for “Civilian Labor Force Participation Rate” and then filter for the tag “sa,” which is “seasonally adjusted.” (NOTE: The seasonality of teenage employment is pretty extreme due to summer jobs.) And choose the ages 16-19 and over 55.
Suggested by Katrina Stierholz