ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — As a teenager, getting a job at a local restaurant or business is somewhat of a rite of passage and a lot of times a necessity. Making your own money and gaining responsibility as a teen is crucial, but the teen labor force has seemed to decline in the U.S. according to a new study by Smartest Dollar.

According to the study, teen labor force participation has declined sharply since the 1970s. Smart Dollar explains the drop is due to factors such as greater school enrollment rates, higher participation in after-school activities, and an increased emphasis on college preparation. The peak of teen labor participation at 59.3% fell to 33.3% from 1978 through 2011. On another side, the study reveals the labor force participation from teens 16 to 19 was the only age group to increase since the pandemic in 2020. Looking at the U.S. by state, most midwestern states have a higher teen labor force participation rate with North and South Dakota, Nebraska, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Iowa exceeding 50%. Fo comparison, the average teen participation rate is 38.3% in the U.S.

New York tends to be on the lower end near 30-35%. The study was able to conclude a 40.6% teen labor force participation rate in the Albany metro area. Below is more data based on the Albany-Schenectady-Troy, NY metro area.

Statistic for Albany-Schenectady-Troy, NY metro area

  • Teens in the labor force: 40.6%
  • Teens enrolled in school: 91.4%
  • Teens not in school and not in the labor force: 2.6%
  • Median household income: $72,810

Statistics for the entire U.S.

  • Teens in the labor force: 38.3%
  • Teens enrolled in school: 87.8%
  • Teens not in school and not in the labor force: 5.0%
  • Median household income: $64,994