Today, fewer than three in ten American teenagers are able to find summer jobs. These figures have fallen off particularly quickly since 2000, and the number of 16- to 19-year-olds at work is at its lowest since World War II. Older workers, immigrants, and young college grads are now taking the low-level work formerly filled by America’s teenagers, and economists have suggested that this change might be permanent.
It's a fact: Our workforce is shrinking. And as it shrinks, the unemployment rate is also shrinking. Critics of President Obama have been quick to say the president hasn't actually created jobs — the falling unemployment rate just means fewer people are trying to find work. If the job growth is an unreliable figure, and the unemployment rate is an unreliable figure, how do we measure economic change?