How impor­tant is all of this? More than ever, if you listen to Andrew Sum, director of the Center for Labor Market Studies at North­eastern Uni­ver­sity. Over the summer, the teen employ­ment rate nation­wide was 32 per­cent, the third worst showing ever. The inequities among races were even more striking: 39 per­cent of white teens held jobs com­pared with 19 per­cent of black teens.

For idle youths, Sum says, “This is the equiv­a­lent of a Great, Great Depression.”

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